Theft and embezzlement are both crimes against property. As a Fresno criminal defense lawyer can explain, they carry different penalties depending on the value of the property stolen. In either case, a criminal suspect has certain rights that must be protected as the case goes forward.
Definition of Theft
Theft involves the taking of someone else's property with the intent to permanently deprive that individual of it. If you are charged with a theft crime, a Fresno criminal defense lawyer can explain the prosecution's burden of proof. In order to sustain a conviction, each element of the crime must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. In other words, the property must actually be taken, it must belong to another, and the suspect must have intended to permanently deprive him of it. If proof is lacking on any one of those elements, the case will fail. Grand theft involves property valued at more than $950 and carries stiffer penalties.
Definition of Embezzlement
As a Fresno criminal defense lawyer can discuss, embezzlement is like theft in that it involves the deprivation of property belonging to another. In most cases, the property is money. In embezzlement cases, the suspected wrongdoer is usually another individual’s employee or agent who funnels the money for his or her own personal use.
Penalties for Misdemeanor vs. Felony Theft-related Charges
Misdemeanor charges are less severe and carry a jail time of up to a year and associated fines of up to $1,000. Felony charges can carry a jail-time sentence of up to three years depending on the severity. Felony fines can reach as high as $10,000. Regardless of whether the charge was a misdemeanor or felony, sentencing often requires the defendant to pay restitution to the victim. In addition to reviewing the prosecution's burden of proof, an attorney can also look at whether constitutional procedures for collecting evidence were followed.
A Fresno Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Advise You
If you face criminal charges of any kind, it's important to discuss your case with an experienced Fresno criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. To make an appointment with Capozzi Law, call 559-374-2012.