Criminal Theft in Fresno

Theft charges in Fresno are treated seriously and can result in consequences that extend past the criminal justice system, including your ability to obtain work, housing, student loans, and can result in deportation. By retaining an experienced criminal lawyer that understands theft charges, you can be assured that you will avoid the problems that arise from being accused of a theft crime. To discuss your theft case, contact us for a free confidential appointment.

What is a Theft Crime in Fresno?

In California, there are many types of theft offenses. These crimes occur when someone takes the property of another person without consent.

Theft can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the case. There are multiple charges that can be filed against you, so it is important to understand what type of larceny crime you are facing.

Criminal convictions for stealing can result in a jail or prison sentence, loss of employment, loss of certain state licenses, and even deportation. A criminal conviction for any larceny crime may act as a prior for life and many of these offenses are considered crimes of moral turpitude.

Therefore, theft convictions should be avoided at all costs and the first step is to retain an attorney that understands how to defend against these charges, and understand the incredible stress that you are under when facing a criminal charge for theft. If you were arrested and charged with any theft crime, it is extremely important to consult an experienced criminal attorney right away.

​Penalties for Theft Crimes

Penalties for all larceny crimes can be staggering even though they are considered non-violent offenses.

Punishment can be even worse if you are in a position of trust, and the victim did not have the reason to believe that you would commit a theft offense. These types of cases are usually classified as white collar crimes and can be given even more punishment that other types of theft cases.

Some common sentences for theft crimes in Fresno are:

  • Jail or Prison Time
  • Probation or Parole Supervision Required
  • Fines, penalties, and court fees
  • Attendance at Anti-Theft Classes
  • Inpatient and Outpatient Drug Program
  • Seizure of Assets (Including houses and cars)
  • Restitution to Victims and Stores
  • May Count as Strike Conviction
  • Unable to obtain student loans or financial aid
  • Mandatory Deportation and Exclusion from US

Proposition 47 and Theft Charges

California’s Proposition 47 applies to numerous theft cases, but it is difficult to know if your case will qualify for Prop 47 treatment.

Proposition 47 amends Penal Code section 666, petty theft with a prior, in that it can only be charged as a felony when the defendant has a single prior specified conviction.

Likewise, other larceny charges, such as Grand Theft (under $950), Receiving Stolen Property (under $950), Writing Bad Checks (checks written are worth less than $950), Forgery (under $950), and even Burglary (under $950) qualify for treatment under Proposition 47.

To ensure you are not wrongly charged with a felony or charged incorrectly on any theft offense you are facing, you need an experienced criminal lawyer on your side that will file the appropriate motions so you are not facing unnecessary punishment.

Types of Theft Convictions

There are hundreds of larceny crimes, but the most common cases in Fresno include:

Petty Theft or Shoplifting

Petty theft, or shoplifting, is the intentionally taking and carrying away of another’s property without permission and with the intent to deprive that person of his or her property. Petty theft charges are usually considered a misdemeanor and the amount of the property taken is valued at $950 or less. 

Grand Theft

Grand theft occurs when property of another is taken that is valued at more than $950 and can be a misdemeanor or felony.  A defendant is facing probation, jail, prison, community service, community work and restitution to the court and victim.

Grand Theft Auto

Grand theft auto (GTA) is the theft of an automobile, no matter the value. Grand Theft Auto is a felony and the person convicted of GTA will face prison.  Additional prison sentences will occur if the person carjacked someone and/or if a weapon or firearm was used in the commission of the theft of the vehicle.

Bad Checks

Bad checks charges are a crime when you write a check without sufficient funds in the bank account to cover the check. Each check that is written is a separate charge. Bad check charges can be a misdemeanor or felony. The sentence can be probation, jail, prison, community work, theft classes, and restitution.

Insurance fraud

Insurance fraud crimes commonly involve an individual intentionally filing a false claim for benefits or compensation.  Insurance fraud is charged as a felony and can result from any insurance policy, but the most common types arise from car and homeowner’s insurance.


Burglary is a crime in where an individual breaks into a building with the intent of committing a felony. This crime is classified as residential burglary or commercial burglary.  Both are felonies, but a residential burglary is a strike offense under the California Three Strikes Law.


Robbery will occur when a person uses force or threats of violence to take property from their person.  Robbery is a strike under California Three Strike's Law. If you are convicted of robbery, the defendant will serve up to six years in prison. There are additional enhancements if you use a gun.


Embezzlement will be charged when a person fraudulently takes property of another person or business when the property has been entrusted.  This is a felony and depending on the amount, a mandatory prison sentence may follow, even if there is no previous criminal record.

Identity Theft

Identity theft is when someone takes personal information from another and using the personal information for an unlawful purpose. These charges can hold a jail or prison sentence, restitution, and large fines.

Receiving Stolen Property

Receiving stolen property (Pen. Code, § 496) is now a straight 364 day misdemeanor for many defendants as long as the value does not exceed $950.  If the value is higher, then the prosecutor has discretion to charge the crime as a felony or misdemeanor because the crime is a wobbler. 

Fresno theft charges can cause you serious problems without a criminal lawyer by your side in Fresno.
Theft charges, identity theft and fraud require a serious defense in Fresno. Call today to discuss your case with a qualified criminal lawyer.

Fight All Theft Charges In Fresno

Even if the evidence seems overwhelming and you believe your case is hopeless, we may be able keep you out of jail and we can negotiate an alternative sentence. These criminal offenses are serious life-changing cases, and it is important to have an aggressive criminal defense lawyer that will aggressively represent you in order to reduce or even drop the charges against you.

Our law office routinely handles these types of criminal cases and we are experienced in representing clients with these charges in Fresno Superior Court. If you were recently arrested or cited stealing in Fresno, speak to a criminal defense lawyer to discuss your criminal charges. There are many alternatives to entering guilty pleas and by contacting our law office, we will explain your options.