Theft Crimes & Prop. 47: Why Property Worth $950.00 or More Permits Felony Filing

Theft crimes were redefined by the passage of Proposition 47 by the voters in 2014. Whereas before Proposition 47 certain theft crimes, such as Grand Theft, required a threshold of $450.00 value to the stolen goods, or in some cases no minimum, for felony charges to be brought, since Proposition 47 passed there is generally a $950.00 threshold in order for felony charges to be brought for theft offenses. See Cal. Penal Code §§ 490.2, 1170.18.

Under Penal Code section 490.2:

Notwithstanding Section 487 or any other provision of law defining grand theft, obtaining any property by theft where the value of the money, labor, real or personal property taken does not exceed nine hundred fifty dollars ($950) shall be considered petty theft and shall be punished as a misdemeanor, except that such person may instead be punished pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 if that person has one or more prior convictions for an offense specified in clause (iv) of subparagraph (C) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (e) of Section 667 or for an offense requiring registration pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 290.

Cal. Penal Code § 490.2(a).

Penal Code section 490.2 thus redefined grand theft to apply to thefts of of $950.00 or more, unless the defendant had a very serious “super strike” on their record, or was required to register as a sex offender under Penal Code section 290.

In addition, Proposition 47 applied this logic to other theft crimes, such as receiving stolen property (Cal. Penal Code § 496(a)), commercial burglary (Cal. Penal Code §§ 459, 459.5), and thefts involving checks (Cal. Penal Code §§ 473, 476a), and even provided for individuals convicted of these crimes as felonies where the theft value was less than $950.00 to apply for resentencing or redesignation of the conviction to a misdemeanor in light of the new law. See Cal. Penal Code §§ 1170.18(a), (d).

There are exceptions and omissions to Proposition 47 and theft offenses. For instance, unlawful driving or taking of a vehicle under Vehicle Code section 10851, and possession of a stolen vehicle under Penal Code section 496d, are not affected by Proposition 47, and therefore a taking or possession of a stolen vehicle worth less than $950.00 can still be charged as a felony under these statutes. In addition, a person convicted of a rare, serious “super strike” on their record, or a person required to register as a sex offender under Penal Code section 290, may still be charged as felons for theft if the value of the goods is less than $950.00. See, e.g., Cal. Penal Code §§ 1170.18(i).

If you or a loved one have been convicted of theft offenses in the past, or are on probation for a theft offense, that may qualify under Proposition 47, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to assist you in reducing your conviction to a misdemeanor under Proposition 47. At Honeychurch & Boyd, we have assisted in the successful reduction of many former felony convictions to misdemeanors on behalf of our clients in Solano, Napa, and Yolo Counties, and continue to represent many clients in theft cases where the property value is over $950.00 and charged as a felony, with great results. Call us today at 707-429-3111 for a free consultation as to how we may be able to assist you in your effort to obtain the best results available under the law if you have been accused of, or convicted of, a theft related offense.