Law Office of David P. Shapiro - San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney




3500 5th Avenue #304 San Diego, CA 92103

San Diego Theft Defense Attorney

Facing Theft Charges?

We’ve compiled this guide to help those facing theft charges in San Diego, and are offering it as a free download to help those facing this unique legal challenge. We encourage you to review this guide and call us for a case evaluation.

theft book

Arrested or Charged with Theft in San Diego?

Theft related legal questions answered in this Google Hangout by criminal defense attorney David P. Shapiro.

There are many offenses that fall under the umbrella of theft offenses in the state of California. If you have been accused of (or arrested for) theft you will likely be charged with any of the following offenses, which include:

  • Petty theft
  • Grand theft
  • Auto theft
  • Identity theft
  • Credit card fraud
  • Embezzlement
  • Receiving Stolen Property
  • Shoplifting
  • Elderly Abuse, and more

The many different theft charges range from misdemeanors to serious felonies. Those convicted of theft offenses face serious consequences. The most important thing you can do for your case and your future is to retain an experienced San Diego law firm skilled in defending against theft charges. The unique circumstances of your case, coupled with your attorney’s effectiveness presenting your defense and/or factors in mitigation will be extremely important in determining the outcome of your case. By this point in time, the facts of the alleged offense have already been determined. However, the quality of the criminal defense law firm you hire to be by your side is still in your control.

Types of Theft Charges

More than many offenses, theft crimes in California tend to encompass a massive list of enumerated offenses. The details specific to your case will determine which charges you will be facing. The prosecution will want to build the strongest case they can against you. It is common for multiple theft charges to arise from even a single incident. A few commonly-prosecuted theft charges in San Diego County are:
Petty Theft

Theft charges are most often classified based off the amount of money allegedly stolen, or the value of the property allegedly taken. In most theft cases valued at $950.00 or less it will be charged as a petty theft – a misdemeanor charge.

Grand Theft

Grand theft charges result when the money or property allegedly stolen is valued at over $950.00. Depending on many factors, including the facts surrounding the offense and the defendant’s prior criminal history (if any), grand theft charges may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony.


One of the most common theft charges in the San Diego court system, shoplifting charges require four specific elements:

The alleged offender entered a business (for example: a retail store, drug store, etc.)
The entrance occurred during business hours
The alleged offender had the intent to commit theft
The value of the property allegedly stolen is $950.00 or less

Make no mistake about it, we will make the prosecution prove every element of a shoplifting offense beyond a reasonable doubt.

White Collar Theft

Theft charges may extend into the realm of white collar (financial) crimes as well, such as embezzlement, identity theft, and bank fraud.


It may sound like something out of the movies, but extortion charges are more common than you may think. Extortion (“blackmail”) charges may result from any situation where one party demands a form of payment from another for keeping information confidential (for example, a student threatening to expose another student’s sexuality in exchange for cash payment). Irrespective of the dollar amount involved, extortion will be charged as a felony offense.

Maximize your chances for a dismissal, or at least a reduction in charges, by retaining the best, locally experienced, defense attorney possible.

Punishments and Penalties for Theft Crimes

Assuming you are convicted for a theft offense, the punishment will range from probation with no jail time all the way to years in state prison. A lot will depend on the amount of loss in question, if restitution has (or can) be paid, your prior criminal history, and the quality of representation you hired.

Misdemeanor Offenses

Thefts charged as misdemeanors (generally due to the amount or value in question, or the type of theft crime) may carry jail time, fines, and probation. For example, petty theft charges may result in up to six (6) months in jail and a fine up to $1,000.00. Receiving stolen property, as a misdemeanor, may result in a jail term twice as long – up to twelve (12) months.

Felony theft charges

Felony charges carry penalties more severe than misdemeanor charges. If convicted of a felony theft in the State of California you may be facing in years in prison, parole conditions, and heavy fines. Your best move when facing felony theft charges is not to delay your defense any further by contacting a top-notch criminal defense law firm to represent you.

Highly-Rated Theft Defense in San Diego

When you retain the Law Office of David P. Shapiro, you retain a successful legal team with over a decade of experience helping over one thousand San Diegans defend against theft allegations and other criminal offenses. Just because you have been accused of theft doesn’t mean you are guilty! And even if you are guilty that doesn’t mean you will be proven guilty in court and/or deserve a harsh sanction. Contact us at 619-295-3555 to schedule your no obligation theft charge consultation today!

Client Reviews

Real Clients Share Their Experience

“I found myself in trouble once again. I contacted David after looking through avvo. I went in with realistic goals and David helped me achieve what I wanted. Communication is a big deal when dealing with your lawyer. Just like most people i had alot of question and concerns throughout the whole ordeal. David was very easy to get a hold of. He returned my calls and emails in a timely manner and his receptionist effectively relayed message when contact between David and myself was not possible. I would highly recommend David as an attorney.”

—Johnnie C.  –  Avvo Review