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Criminal Theft Laws in Orange County

In California, theft is a general legal term used to describe the act of taking the property of another person with the intent to permanently deprive that person of the property. 


The technical name for theft crimes in California is larceny. The crime of larceny includes various theft crimes, including shoplifting, petty theft, grand theft, embezzlement, theft by false pretenses, and larceny by trick.  

All of the theft crimes included in California’s criminal theft law have their own specific components that must be proved before someone can be found guilty of violating the specific crime.  


The components of the specific crimes are called the elements of the crime.  It is the elements of the crimes that differentiate each crime from one another.

The following information provides a general overview of the services a criminal defense lawyer can provide to someone charged with a theft crime in California. 


For information regarding a specific crime visit the specific page dedicated to that offense.  Don't see the crime you're charged with, contact JPLaw, P.C. to schedule a FREE consultation. 

1.  Why hire a local Orange County criminal theft defense lawyer?

California theft laws are extremely complex and involve a great deal of intricacies. Therefore, it is always recommended that someone charged with one of California’s many theft laws contact a criminal theft defense lawyer. Failing to hire a good defense lawyer can result in more serious penalties that can affect the rest of your life.

More importantly, you’ll want to hire a local criminal theft defense lawyer.  A local lawyer will know what prosecutors to negotiate with, what judges to get offers from, and what courtrooms to try cases in.  In other words, defendants benefit from the familiarity of a local defense lawyer, that lawyers from other areas may lack. This is especially true in an area like Orange County, which prides itself on its “tough on crime” approach to prosecuting theft crimes.


Attorney John-Patrick Mullen-Lujan is a local Orange County criminal theft defense lawyer with extensive knowledge and experience defending various California theft crimes. 


Your lawyer should know what practice and procedure should be used to optimize the results of your defense strategy. 

Attorney Mullen-Lujan was named one of the Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Orange and Newport Beach. Hire an attorney you can trust and who can provide the zealous advocacy you need.

2.  Can you be arrested for theft crimes in California?

Yes, you can be arrested for any one of California’s theft crimes. 


Penal Code section 836 permits an officer to arrest someone without a warrant (1) for any misdemeanor committed in the officer’s presence or (2) whenever the officer has probable cause to believe that someone committed a felony, regardless of whether the felony was committed in the presence of the officer.  


An officer may also request a judge to sign an arrest warrant, which permits the officer to arrest the suspected perpetrator and bring them to court. 

Inmate Handcuffed

Police officers do not have unlimited authority to arrest people. Officers must comply with the rules governing arrests contained in the California Penal Code. 

A person arrested for a theft crime may be required to post bail. 


Unless the person has the funds to post bail, which can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few hundred-thousand dollars, the person is going to want to have a bail bondsman available to post bail, if necessary. 


A good criminal defense lawyer will can help clients find a reputable and reliable bail bondsman to minimize any time the client spends behind bars.

3.  Will theft charges go on my record?

Yes, a criminal conviction of any one of California’s theft laws will result in a criminal record. Theft crimes are taken very seriously in California. 


The punishment for theft can range anywhere from informal probation to several years imprisonment in the state prison.  That said, there are many ways a good theft defense lawyer can help minimize the consequences of a criminal theft charge.  

For example, a defendant may be able to avoid a criminal conviction when the value of the property taken was relatively low.  One way to avoid a criminal conviction for theft is to petition the court for judicial diversion pursuant to PC 1001.95.

Judicial diversion allows a judge to continue a criminal case without having the defendant plead guilty.  While the case is continued, the judge will order the defendant to complete several tasks, like complete 10-hours of community service or pay any restitution that may be owed to the victim. 


If the defendant completes all of the tasks by the next court date, then the judge must dismiss the charges against the defendant.

Three people participating in community service

Community service is normally included whenever someone is granted judicial diversion. 

4.  Can a conviction for a theft crime be expunged?

The short answer to is, it depends.  California expungement laws entitle a person to an expungement if they have complied with all of the terms of their probation.  


An expungement allows a person to withdraw their plea of guilty, enter a plea of NOT guilty, and have the case dismissed. More importantly, though, it permits a person to legally say they have never been convicted of a crime when applying for employment or housing.

Thus, even if you have been convicted of a theft crime in the past, there may still be a way to mitigate the consequences of a criminal record. To learn more about California’s expungement laws, visit the dedicated expungement page.

CR-180 Petition for Dismissal

Court form CR-180 is used to petition the court for an expungement. 

Contact An Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer 

John-Patrick Mullen-Lujan is a trusted Orange County criminal theft defense lawyer that prides himself on his ability to communicate with clients as he helps them navigate our complex criminal justice system.

Contact JPLaw, P.C. to schedule your FREE consultation with local Orange County criminal theft defense lawyer John-Patrick Mullen-Lujan. Together you will review your case and develop a legal defense strategy tailored just for you!


Get In Touch!

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JPLaw, P.C.

Orange County Law Office

Old Town Orange Office

410 N Clark St.
Orange, CA 92868

Phone: (949) 991-7057

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