Is Embezzlement a Felony in California?

California’s Penal Code 503 PC treats embezzlement as grand theft. The crime can be charged as a felony when the crime entails theft of:

  • A firearm
  • An automobile
  • Property worth more than $950

Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys further explain that embezzlement is a wobbler offense, which can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. The outcome depends on the facts of the case and your criminal history. If convicted of felony embezzlement, you risk hefty penalties such as fines and imprisonment in a state prison.

Types Embezzlement

The law categorizes embezzlement into two types:

  • Petty theft: The value of the property you embezzle is not more than $950. The offense can be a misdemeanor, and the punishment is imprisonment in the county jail.
  • Grand theft: The amount of property you misappropriate is more than $950, including separate acts of theft over a year.

Regardless of the type of embezzlement charges you’re facing, having skilled Los Angeles embezzlement lawyers by your side is of utmost importance. Remember, the consequences of a conviction can be long-lasting, and you want to fight to protect your rights, freedom, and future.

What is Constitutes Embezzlement in California?

For a prosecutor to convict you of embezzlement in California, they must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The owner of the property gave control of the property on their behalf
  • They entrusted you with the property because they trusted you
  • You fraudulently used or converted the property for your use
  • You intended to deprive or defraud the owner of the property of its use when you converted or used it

Having skilled Los Angeles embezzlement attorneys defend you is strategic in helping you win the case. They can poke holes or cast doubt on the prosecutor’s claims to show that you had no intention to commit the crime. The strength of your defense is crucial in having the charges dismissed or penalties reduced.

Are There Aggravating or Mitigating Factors for Felony Embezzlement Charges?

If your case is charged as a felony, it could have aggravating and mitigating factors. An aggravating factor could lead to a more severe sentence. For example, you could get a harsher punishment if the victim of your actions was an elderly or dependent person (one with a mental or physical impairment that inhibits their daily functioning).

On the other hand, a mitigating factor could cause the judge to grant a less severe sentence. For example, the judge could impose lighter penalties if you returned the property subject to embezzlement before you were formally charged. Skilled embezzlement attorneys in Los Angeles can evaluate your case for various mitigating factors that could make your sentence lighter.

What Are the Possible Punishments for Embezzlement?

California embezzlement charges encompass a broad range of monies or properties ranging from a nominal amount to billions of cash. So, the punishments vary depending on the case specifics. For example:

  • If the property in question is worth less than $950, you will face petty theft charges, and the possible punishment is up to six months in county jail, $1,000 in fines, and misdemeanor summary probation.
  • If the property is worth over $950, the charge will be grand theft and can be a misdemeanor or felony. If it entails theft of an automobile, it will be considered grand theft auto or grand theft firearm if the property embezzled is a firearm. The penalties are 16 months to 3 years in state prison, a fine of up to $10,000, and a felony probation.
  • Felony grand theft embezzlement attracts up to $10,000 in fines and a serve time in California state prison of between 16 months and three years, depending on the case specifics.

Does an Embezzlement Conviction Have Immigration Consequences?

Sadly, an embezzlement conviction can have adverse consequences on your immigration status. Under United States immigration law, certain kinds of criminal convictions can lead to:

  • Deportation of a non-citizen
  • Inadmissibility of a non-citizen

One category of crimes that can make you deportable or inadmissible is aggravated felonies. You are at risk of damaging immigration results if you’re a non-citizen and:

  • You’re charged with felony grand theft embezzlement
  • The facts prove that the felony is aggravated

If you’re a non-citizen facing felony embezzlement charges, the stakes are high. Consult experienced embezzlement attorneys in Los Angeles to help you develop a solid defense strategy.

What Are the Possible Defense Strategies Against Embezzlement Charges?

Skilled criminal defense attorneys in Los Angeles can use one of the available defense strategies to help you beat embezzlement charges.

Their application depends on the details of the charges and how knowledgeable your attorney is in navigating the charges:

  • Good Faith Belief: You could argue that you had a good faith belief that the property was yours.
  • You did nothing fraudulent: If your charges revolve around embezzling an elderly victim or employer, you could argue that they gave you the property of their own volition.
  • You did not intend to embezzle: The prosecutor has the burden of proof to demonstrate that you intended to defraud the property owner. Your lawyers can help you beat the charges by showing that you had no intention to embezzle.

Beating Embezzlement Charges with the Help of Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers

Embezzlement charges attract hefty penalties upon a conviction. Facing charges for the crime can be scary, and you may not know how to defend yourself unless you have the skilled representation of criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles. Don’t suffer in silence or go to battle alone.

Miranda Rights Law Firm has a team of dedicated embezzlement lawyers who can help you fight the charges. We have represented many clients and understand how the system works. Trust us to fight for the most favorable outcome in your case. Call us at 213-293-1207 to schedule a FREE case assessment.