When you think of grand theft charges, you may think about large or expensive personal items taken: such as expensive vehicles. However, there are also charges for another type of crime in California: Grand Theft Firearm, where the property taken is actually a firearm. Before the passing of Prop 47 in 2014, any theft of a firearm was considered to be “grand theft” but the laws have changed since then. Now it is only grand theft if the firearms stolen were worth more than $950 or the defendant has a prior conviction of a sex crime in California. If these elements are not met, then it is just considered petty theft.
Because it may be difficult for some to imagine this type of scenario, here is an example of grand theft firearm: A man is considered to be a sex offender and must register as a sex offender for his crimes against children. One day, he breaks into a home and steals a pistol that is worth a couple hundred dollars. Because of his sex offender registration requirement and the stealing of a gun, he is now charged with the crime.
Penalties for Firearm Charges
These crimes are treated very seriously under California law. Because it is considered a felony, the charges are more severe than just petty theft and could include up to 3 years in a California state prison, with fines of up to $10,000! However, you may be able to bring a defense in your case with the help of an experienced defense attorney.
What defenses can be used in these cases, where it seems the evidence is stacked up against you? You may be able to show the court that you didn’t intend to steal the weapon, that the firearm actually belonged to you, that the total value of the firearm is less than perceived, or you have been falsely accused. In any case, you will need spectacular evidence to defend yourself. Call us today for more information on how we can help you in your time of need if you have been accused of stealing a firearm and are facing a felony.