Every crime in California is defined by a specific code section. Our attorneys explain the law, penalties and best defense strategies for every major crime in California.
Felony » Is embezzlement a felony in California?
The embezzlement of a firearm is always a felony crime of theft under California criminal law.
In embezzlement cases where the property is worth $950 or less, the offense is a form of California petty theft and is charged as misdemeanor embezzlement.
The larceny crime of embezzlement in California is when a person fraudulently appropriates property that:
Penal Code 503 is the California statute on embezzling, typically a white collar crime. For a prosecutor to show that a person is guilty under this statute, he must prove the following:
Note that a person acts “fraudulently” when he either
Examples of California embezzlement could include all of the following:
It is always a California felony when a person embezzles a firearm.
The crime is a form of California grand theft if the embezzled property is:
In these cases, embezzlement is a type of wobbler offense. This means it can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on:
A felony embezzlement conviction carries state prison time for up to three years.
Both aggravating and mitigating factors may be available in embezzlement cases when the offense is charged as a felony. For example, a judge is likely to give a defendant a tougher sentence if his victim was an elderly or a dependent person (that is, someone with a mental or physical impairment that affects his daily functioning). A factor leading to a more severe sentence is an aggravating factor.
A mitigating factor, or one which may lead a judge to grant a less severe sentence, is when the defendant returned the property subject to the embezzlement. But note that this return must have come before the party gets formally charged.
There are two situations in which embezzlement is a misdemeanor charge. These are when:
In the former case, the crime is punishable by county jail time for up to one year.
In cases where the embezzled property is worth $950 or less, the crime is treated as a form of California petty theft. It is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for up to six-months.1
An embezzlement defense lawyer can raise various legal defenses to accusations of this serious crime. A successful defense can work to reduce a certain charge or to eliminate one altogether.
Four common defenses to California embezzlement charges are that the defendant:
Have you or a loved one been accused of embezzlement? Our embezzlement defense attorneys may be able to get the charge reduced or dismissed. Our criminal defense lawyers create attorney-client relationships and have law offices in Los Angeles and throughout the state.
Disclaimer: Past results do not guarantee future results.
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.
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