Theft & Embezzlement

Theft is a broad term encompassing various crimes that involve stealing property including, but not limited to, burglary, larceny, robbery, receipt of stolen property, and embezzlement.

All theft crimes share common elements, or parts of the crime. Specifically, the criminal conduct must have been done with specific intent, or the desire to accomplish the resulting act. Intent is required for a conviction. A theft attorney will explore with you in detail how this affects your case.


California Penal Code §503 defines embezzlement as “the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom it has been intrusted,” e.g. a case wherein a party manages another’s financial account and uses the funds for his own purposes without the owner’s consent. Embezzlement is broken down into elements; if any element fails, or is not proven, the defendant cannot be convicted.

Burden of Proof

All criminal cases have the same burden of proof, which is the legal standard to which a party must prove his case; the burden of proof is “beyond reasonable doubt.” The prosecution must prove every element of embezzlement beyond a reasonable doubt to achieve a conviction. An experienced Fresno theft attorney can discuss with you each of the elements, and what is reasonable doubt.


A conviction may include jail time and/or fines depending on whether a defendant is convicted of petty (misdemeanor) or grand (felony) theft, which is determined by the value of the property embezzled. Aggravating factors, such as the type of property embezzled and any prior convictions, will also impact the sentence.

If you are facing any theft charges, you should immediately consult a defense attorney. Do not speak to anyone about your case, especially law enforcement, without the presence of your attorney to preserve your rights. Anything you say may be used against you later at trial or other legal proceedings. Once you request counsel, law enforcement must cease any interrogation.

Your advocate will strategize with you regarding a plea, whether to testify, and available defenses to successfully achieve an acquittal of embezzlement.

Your life and liberty are at stake when it comes to a criminal case; allow a lawyer who specializes in embezzlement to vigorously defend your case.