If you are facing theft charges, whether it’s petty theft or grand theft, having legal representation can help you avoid conviction.

Theft Defense Attorneys in Bakersfield, California

According to statistics from the Crime in California Report, there were 541,368 total reported larceny-theft incidents statewide in 2021. In California, it is illegal to steal another person’s property by larceny, embezzlement, or false pretense with an intent to permanently deprive the rightful owner of their property. An offender convicted of theft may face a lengthy prison sentence, substantial fines, and other severe consequences, depending on the stolen item’s value.

If you’ve been arrested and charged with a theft crime, it is imperative that you retain a highly-skilled California criminal defense lawyer to help strategize your defense. At Underwood Law Firm, we’re committed to defending and representing individuals wrongfully charged with theft crimes. Our trusted legal team will fight aggressively for your legal rights, dispute the allegations against you with significant evidence, and help keep your record as clean as possible.

Underwood Law Firm proudly represents alleged defendants across Bakersfield, California, and surrounding areas throughout Lamont and Kern County.

Understand & Fight for Your Rights

Theft Charges Under California Law

According to California law, theft involves wrongfully taking or stealing another person’s property through larceny, false pretense, or embezzlement and with the intent to permanently deprive the rightful owner of such property or item.

Examples and Types of Theft

Here are some common examples and types of theft and theft-related offenses in the state of California:


  • Theft by larceny
  • Theft by embezzlement
  • Theft by trick
  • Theft by false pretense


  • Taking another person’s property
  • Taking lost items without making any reasonable effort to find the rightful owner
  • Obtaining another person’s property by false pretense or deception
  • Looting
  • Failure to return leased or rented property
  • Using a credit or debit card illegally
  • Falsifying information in order to sell items
  • Shoplifting
  • Defrauding a public housing program
  • Diverting funds for services, labor, or materials illegally
  • Purchasing or accepting stolen items

If you or someone you know has been arrested and charged with a theft offense, you need to reach out to a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer straight away. Your attorney can investigate every facet of your case thoroughly and enlighten you about the nature of your charges.

Classification of Theft Charges

In the state of California, theft charges may be classified as petty theft or grand theft.

Petty Theft: Petty theft involves unlawfully taking or stealing an item valued at $950.00 or less. The offense is often charged as a misdemeanor.

Grand Theft: Grand theft involves unlawfully taking or stealing property with a value of $950.00 or more. This is a wobbler offense – it may be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony.

A trusted lawyer can investigate every aspect of your case, determine the severity of your charges, and enlighten you about the potential penalties and consequences.

Possible Penalties for Theft Charges

However, allegations of theft in California often carry serious ramifications. Depending on the value of the stolen item, a defendant convicted of theft might be subject to any of these penalties and consequences:

  • Prison sentences (ranging from months, years, or decades)
  • Massive fines and court fees
  • A criminal record
  • Community service
  • Probation
  • Loss of firearm carry or firearm ownership rights
  • Loss of voting rights
  • Increased difficulty in traveling to other countries
  • Increased difficulty in getting government benefits
  • Increased difficulty in getting a new job, housing, or educational opportunities
  • Ineligibility for certain financial loans
  • Loss of scholarships or University acceptance
  • Deterioration of professional and personal relationships

An experienced California theft defense lawyer can evaluate every last detail of your personal situation and strategize the best approach to fight your theft allegations.

Possible Defenses

When charged with theft, your attorney can help fight your allegations using any of these legal defenses:

  • Acted with the consent or permission of the rightful owner
  • Falsely accused of theft
  • Truth or ambiguity of the statement
  • Intoxication
  • No intention of stealing the property
  • You took the item under a good faith belief of having the right to take it
  • Entrapment
  • Reasonable belief in the truth of threat (for extortion)
  • Borrowed the property and intends to return it to the rightful owner

A knowledgeable legal counsel can help identify your best legal defenses in pursuit of the most favorable outcome for your unique situation.

How Underwood Law Firm Can Help

Facing theft or larceny allegations can be terrifying. Unfortunately, the outcome of your case can have devastating ramifications on your personal reputation, freedom, quality of life, career, and future opportunities. Therefore, when arrested or indicted for theft, retaining a strategic criminal defense attorney immediately is paramount for detailed guidance and to help build your defense.

At Underwood Law Firm, our attorneys are committed to offering comprehensive legal guidance and aggressive representation to clients in their theft cases. As your legal counsel, we can investigate all of the surrounding facts of your case and outline a solid defense strategy to help fight your allegations. With our extensive knowledge, we can help you navigate the California criminal justice system and make sure you get fair treatment in every phase of the legal process.