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Rebecka A. Monez – Stanislaus County Litigator of the Year 2023
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Theft Crimes

Experienced Modesto Criminal Defense Attorney Defending Clients Throughout Stanislaus County

With a property crime rate well above the national average, Stanislaus County sees a lot of theft crimes. In fact, theft is one of the most commonly charged crimes in Modesto, which has the highest rate of theft prosecutions in the county, and one of the highest in the state. If you have been charged with theft, it is important that you do not give up hope. At the Law Offices of Rebecka A. Monez, we regularly represent clients in all types of theft cases, securing the best possible result on behalf of our clients.

What Are the Different Types of Theft in California?

Theft, which is also referred to as larceny under the California Penal Code, is a crime that almost everyone is familiar with. However, the nuances of the California theft laws are more complex than most realize. Under Penal Code § 484, there are several different ways to commit a theft, including:

  • Stealing, taking, carrying, leading, or driving away the personal property of another;
  • Fraudulently appropriating property that was entrusted to you;
  • Defrauding another person of money, labor or property; or
  • Fraudulently obtaining credit to obtain money, labor or property.

In general, most theft crimes are either classified as petit theft or grand theft. The way the laws are written, unless a crime is specifically labeled as grand theft, it will be charged as petty theft by default. For example, grand theft includes any of the following:

  • Theft of property valued at more than $950;
  • Theft of an automobile;
  • Theft of a firearm; and
  • Identity theft.

As a general rule, unless a more specific provision applies, grand theft is punishable by up to one year in prison. And petty theft is punishable by up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. However, if the theft involved a firearm, the maximum base prison term becomes three years.

Of course, the punishments listed above do not take into account any sentencing enhancements that may apply, which can dramatically increase your exposure.

Other Theft-Related Offenses

California law also provides for other crimes that, while similar to theft, require the government to prove at least one additional element. These theft-related offenses are typically much more serious than petty or grand theft and include:


Robbery involves taking the property of another person while in their presence by use of force or fear. First-degree robbery carries a base prison term of up to six years, while second-degree robbery carries a base prison term of up to five years.


Burglary involves entering the secured property of another with the intent to commit a theft or any other felony while on the property. Burglary of a home or occupied structure is considered first-degree burglary, and all other burglaries are second-degree burglaries. A first-degree burglary carries a possible base prison term of two, four, or six years, while second-degree burglary carries a prison term of up to one year in jail.


Carjacking involves taking another’s vehicle, in the presence of the driver or passenger, by use of fear or threat. Carjacking is punishable by a base prison term of up to nine years. While prosecutors can charge both robbery and carjacking, if you are found guilty of both, you cannot be sentenced on both charges unless the offenses are based on different facts.

Contact an Experienced Modesto Criminal Defense Lawyer for Help Fighting Your Case

If you were recently arrested for petty theft, grand theft, robbery, burglary, carjacking or any other theft crime, reach out to the Law Office of Rebecka A. Monez for immediate assistance. At our Stanislaus County law firm, we proudly stand up for the rights of people charged with serious theft crimes, helping them ensure their arrest has as little impact on their future as possible. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with a Modesto criminal defense attorney today, give us a call at 209-488-4959. You can also connect with us through our online contact form.

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