Carlsbad is where Californians and out-of-state tourists go to have fun and be pampered. It stretches along 7 miles of the Pacific coast, only 35 miles north of downtown San Diego. Its population of more than 112,000 people expands every time the city fills with visitors to Legoland, the Flower Fields, beach resorts, beautiful golf courses, and relaxing spas.

As is common with any tourist destination, Carlsbad sees its share of crime. From robberies to assaults, the police do their best to ensure residents and tourists alike are safe.

If you were charged with a crime, contact a Carlsbad criminal defense attorney. Whether you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, you have the right to an attorney from the time of your arrest through your trial and any subsequent appeals. You have the right to defend yourself in court, and the best way to do that is with a skilled lawyer by your side.

Petty & Grand Theft in California

Theft is the intentional and unlawful taking of another person’s property. This could mean taking money or other property from a friend, stranger, or store. When the money or items stolen are worth less than $950, the crime is known as petty theft and is charged as a misdemeanor. This offense is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine up to $1,000.

However, if the money or items stolen were worth less than $50, the person will receive an infraction. An infraction is punishable by a fine up to $250 and does not come with any jail time or probation.

Grand theft is the purposeful and illegal taking of property worth more than $950 and is generally charged as a felony. However, other situations are also automatically charged as grand theft, including the theft of:

  • An automobile
  • A firearm
  • Farm crops worth more than $250
  • Certain animals, including horses or domestic fowls
  • Fish, shellfish, and other aquacultural products with more than $250
  • Property was taken directly from the owner

If charged as a felony, the defendant faces up to 3 years in prison, probation, and significant fines.

Grand Theft Auto & Carjacking in California

Many people confuse grand theft auto and carjacking. Grand theft auto is when someone steals a car. The offender takes the car without the owner’s permission with the intention of denying the owner of their car permanently. They must move the car, even a small amount, and keep the car for a period of time. This offense doesn’t require any violence or property damage.

If prosecuted as a felony, the defendant faces up to 3 years in a jail – even more if the car was worth a significant amount.

Carjacking is a much more serious crime. This offense includes the taking of a vehicle in the presence of another person, against that person’s will, through the use of intimidation, force, or violence. The taking of the car can be with the intent to deprive the owner permanently or temporarily. The person from whom the car is taken does not have to be the owner – it can be a passenger or someone borrowing the car.

Carjacking is a felony punishable by up to 9 years in prison.

Fraud-Related Crimes in California

Fraud is when someone uses a deceptive act to benefit themselves and cause harm or a loss to another person. Depending on the specific act and the harm caused, fraud is punishable under various California statutes. Types of fraud include:

  • Money laundering
  • Embezzlement
  • Identity theft
  • Forging a driver’s license or ID
  • Credit and debit card fraud
  • Check fraud
  • Mail theft

Fraudulent acts can be charges as misdemeanors, punishable by up to 1 year in jail, or felonies, punishable by multiple years in jail or prison.

California Marijuana Charges

Personal amounts of marijuana are legal in California, but the private cultivation, transportation, and sale of the drug are still illegal. Depending on the amount of marijuana related to the charge, the defendant may be prosecuted with a felony.

In addition to the statutory jail time and fines, those found guilty of a marijuana-related felony will have a criminal record that will affect them the rest of their lives. A felony will undermine renting safe housing, receiving federal student aid, receiving auto and home loans, and getting good jobs. If the defendant was on a visa or green card, these can be revoked or an application for citizenship can be denied.

Contact a Carlsbad Criminal Defense Attorney

Whether you’ve been charged with one of the above crimes or a different offense, Jessica McElfresh wants to help you. She understands the stress put on you and your family when you have to deal with criminal charges, which is why she will aggressively advocate on your behalf, in and out of court.

If you have a criminal history prior to the current charge, it’s even more important that you speak with Jessica right away. Prior convictions can lead to more serious charges and a push for harsher penalties. Jessica will do what she can under the law to prove avoid harsh, unfair punishments and minimize the consequences of a subsequent conviction.

Call McElfresh Law today at (858) 756-7107 for a free consultation.

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