lacerny lacerny

Larceny in California is generally referred to as grand theft by larceny and is a crime of moral turpitude. Larceny is the unlawful taking of someone’s property and includes the following elements:

  • Taking possession of someone else’s property
  • Without that person’s permission
  • With the intent to permanently deprive the owner of his or her property or to take it for a period long enough to deprive the rightful owner of a significant portion of its value or enjoyment and,
  • Moving the property for any distance and possessing it for any length of time

Grand theft larceny includes the above elements as well as involving property with a value over $950. Theft of any property of $950 or less is petty theft in most cases.

Other Related Offenses

Larceny or theft of a firearm or an automobile, regardless of its value, is grand theft firearm or grand theft auto.

Other related larceny offenses include:

  • Grand Theft by False Pretenses:

If you use a false document or writing, such as a forged passport or false ID, signed by you, and the prosecution can produce at least 2 witnesses to support the falsity or one witness and some other evidence, then you can be charged.

  • Grand Theft by Trick:

This is theft by deceit or fraud. The owner has consented to your possessing his or her property by believing your intentional falsehood or intentional misrepresentation. All other elements of larceny must also be met.

  • Theft by Embezzlement

Should you have been in a position of trust regarding the property, such as a trustee or a cashier, and you take the property or use it for your own benefit, and intend to deprive the owner of the property permanently or temporarily, you may have committed embezzlement. It is not a defense that you only borrowed the money.


If the property is valued at less than $950, you may only be charged with a misdemeanor. Possible sentences range from probation to up to one year in jail. Few first-time offenders who are charged with a misdemeanor go to jail. Diversionary programs that may reduce the crime to an infraction are available depending on the circumstances of the offense, especially if property is valued at $50 or less.

If the property allegedly taken is worth more than $950, or is a firearm or auto, or if you have mulltiple theft offenses and/or a prior conviction for a serious felony, you face state prison time of 16 months or 2 or 3 years. The penalties can be enhanced if the property had substantial value.

Possible Defenses

Possible defenses include the following:

  • You were falsely accused
  • You had no intent to unlawfully take the property
  • You had a reasonable belief the property belonged to you
  • You reasonably believed the owner consented to your taking the property

Immigration Consequences

Under federal immigration law, if you are an alien or permanent resident and you commit a crime of moral turpitude that has a possible prison sentence of more than one year, you may have serious immigration consequences. If you were convicted of a theft offense for which the penalty was imprisonment of at least one year within 5 years of admission to the U.S., you could face deportation and not be eligible for cancellation of removal relief.

Call the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis

Facing a charge of larceny or a related offense can result in serious prison time and have long range or permanent adverse consequences on your life. If you have been charged with a crime of larceny, call the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis today for a free, confidential initial consultation at (213) 687-4412.