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Grand theft is a term used to describe the larceny of certain types of property or the property’s value. Grand theft differs from petty theft, which is a less serious crime.

California’s grand theft law calls for a harsh punishment that includes incarceration in the state prison and either restitution or a fine.

Grand theft is a felony, and a felony conviction could have immigration consequences and lead to housing and other problems. 

If you have charges alleging grand theft in California, you need superior support and service from a criminal defense team with nearly 50 years of experience fighting to protect the rights of people just like you.

At The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, we understand what you’re up against. That’s why we offer you emotional support and the high-quality advocacy you deserve.

Call us today at 619-439-0912, or contact us online to find out what we can do for you.

What Is Grand Theft in California?

Penal Code section 487 defines grand theft in California. In California, grand theft consists of stealing money, labor, real property, or personal property with a value exceeding $950.

Stealing crops and aquaculture products worth more than $250 is also grand theft. 

Money, labor, real property, or personal property stolen by an employee or agent is grand theft when the aggregate amount stolen exceeds $950 in 12 months.

Grand theft also occurs when an employer steals wages amounting to more than $950.

Finally, the grand theft charge also applies to stealing an automobile, a firearm, or property from another person. 

Grand Theft Penalty

California Penal Code §489 sets forth the permissible punishments for a grand theft conviction.

Grand theft of a firearm is a felony and carries a state prison sentence of 16 months, two years, or three years. However, most other incidents of grand theft are known as “wobbler” offenses.

A wobbler offense can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. The penalty assessed by the judge determines into which category the crime falls.

If the judge decides to give you a misdemeanor sentence, then you cannot serve more than one year in jail.

However, the judge can sentence you to the county jail for 16 months, two years, or three years for a felony conviction (commonly referred to as a “local prison sentence”).

You must serve a felony grand theft sentence in the state prison if you have a prior conviction for a violent felony. 

Penal Code section 1170(h) allows the judge to suspend part of your sentence, and you could get released on mandatory supervision.

The county probation officer will supervise you during the period of mandatory supervision. 

Why Hire a San Diego County Grand Theft Attorney from The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC?

Experience matters. Our California criminal defense lawyers have tried well over a hundred cases to jury trial and have handled thousands more.

There is a very good chance we’ve dealt with a case similar to yours. Our experience helps us minimize or alleviate the damage your grand theft charge could do to your life.

Additionally, attorney Kerry L. Armstrong is board-certified as a criminal law legal specialist. Few attorneys in the San Diego County area earned that coveted designation.

Call us today at 619-439-0912 or contact us online for a free consultation. 

Author Photo

Kerry L. Armstrong


Attorney Kerry Armstrong opened up his law firm in June 2007. Mr. Armstrong attended Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, California, and received his B.S. from Middle Tennessee State University. Kerry L. Armstrong became certified by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization for criminal law in August 2020, making him one of the few criminal defense attorneys with a criminal law legal specialization certificate in San Diego County.  Between 2014 – 2019, Mr. Armstrong was selected for inclusion in the California Super Lawyers list, an honor only awarded to 5% of the nation’s attorneys.

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