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Los Angeles Grand Theft of a Firearm Lawyers
California has some fairly strict theft laws. You can be arrested and prosecuted for shoplifting from a supermarket or failing to pay for a meal at a restaurant. But what happens when you steal something that is both valuable and potentially dangerous?
While many minor incidences of stealing in Los Angeles may be considered petty theft, stealing certain items under certain conditions may be grounds for an automatic upgrade to grand theft. Stealing a firearm is one of the actions that may potentially cause this automatic upgrade. Keep reading to learn how an act of theft may have a huge impact on your life.
Grand Theft of a Firearm Explained
At one time in California, any theft of a firearm was considered grand theft. However, Proposition 47, which was passed in 2014, slightly amended this law. At the current time, under Section 487 of the California Penal Code, stealing a firearm may be considered grand theft if the following conditions are met:
- The value of the firearm is $950 or greater
- The person who stole the firearm has been convicted of sex crime and registered as sex offender
- The person who stole the firearm has a previous felony conviction for murder, rape or sexual abuse of a child under 14
As you can see, stealing a firearm has the potential to incur a variety of serious legal penalties.
Grand Theft of a Firearm Example
Michael is visiting his friend Michelle. During the visit, Michelle shows Michael her brand new AR-15 rifle. She tells Michael that the gun is a custom model, worth well over $1000. Michael later returns to Michelle’s house and grabs the gun, stealing it. Michael may be convicted of grand theft of a firearm.
In another scenario, Carl was convicted of sexual assault 10 years ago and was required to register as a sexual offender. One day, he visits a pawn shop and looks at a .38 caliber revolver valued at $350. When the clerk is distracted, Carl snatches the pistol and exits the store. Although the value of the gun was less than $950, Carl may still be convicted of grand theft of a firearm because he had a previous felony conviction that fell under the rules of Proposition 47.
Committing grand theft of a firearm in Los Angeles is a felony offense. A conviction for this crime may lead to:
- Confinement in state prison for 16 months, two years or up to three years
- A fine of up to $10,000
- The addition of a “strike” to your record
Stealing a valuable gun in California can add a strike to your criminal record, which means that accruing three strikes can automatically sentence you to 25 years to life in prison. In addition, a “strike” crime is one in which 85% of the sentence must be served before you can be eligible for parole.
Strong Legal Defenses
Our law firm may be able to help you stay out of prison if you have been charged with grand theft of a firearm in Los Angeles. For example, we may argue that:
- You only borrowed the gun from a friend with no intention to steal it
- You were mistakenly identified as the culprit in the theft
- There is insufficient evidence to link you to the crime
A successful legal defense may mean that you can avoid prison time and a strike on your record.