The word theft typically means to take another person's property without permission. It seems pretty simple and straightforward. However, in legal terms, theft actually encompasses various categories and degrees of crime. Those in California who have been accused of theft could face a number of serious consequences, depending on the specifications of their alleged crimes.
Theft is the taking property with the intention of depriving the owner of it permanently. Two things stick out here: taking and intent. The taking of property must be proved in a theft case, but so must intent.
There are actually a couple types and degrees of theft. These include petty theft and grand theft. The difference between the two is the type of property stolen and the value of said property. In a petty left case, an individual is accused of taking an item or items that are relatively low in value, typically worth less than $1,000. Such cases are usually tried as misdemeanor crimes.
A grand theft case, on the other hand, deals with more serious offenses. These cases typically involve stolen property of significant value. One accused of grand theft will face felony level charges which can carry significantly harsher penalties than those handed down in petty theft cases.
Theft of any kind is a serious matter; one that is not taken lightly by California law enforcement officials. Those accused of committing theft would be wise to seek experienced legal counsel in order to assist them with their cases. With help, these individuals may be able to fight the charges at hand or seek alternative sentencing options -- if available.
Source: FindLaw, "Theft Overview", Accessed on Feb. 21, 2016