Articles Posted in Grand Theft

On Friday, February 18 criminal defense attorney Stephen Sitkoff from the criminal defense law firm of Takakjian & Sitkoff was on ABC News’ show “Good Morning America” to discuss the development of Lindsay Lohan’s grand theft case, for which she is facing a possible three year prison sentence if convicted.

According to ABC News, the infamous actress was charged recently with a felony that stems from the disappearance of a $2,500 necklace from a boutique in Venice, CA in January. On Tuesday, February 2 the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) began an investigation of the actress in connection with the possible theft of the necklace.

In relation to what Lohan needs to do regarding to the case and her public image, Sitkoff states, “Lindsay needs to do the things she needs to do in order to show the court that she’s living differently.” According to the video, Lohan is attending AA meetings and is taking her charges seriously.

She has been accused of stealing several times in the past. She has been accused and convicted of DUI. But the big question now is whether Lindsay Lohan will be able to avoid conviction and possible prison time in her felony grand theft case. People.com interviewed a number of well-known Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers. Our own Steve Sitkoff was also interviewed by People.

Sitkoff highlighted the important fact that this will by no means be a slam-dunk case for the prosecution. Prosecutors are alleging that the 24-year-old actress stole a $2,500 necklace from a store. According to Steve Sitkoff, all that a criminal defense lawyer needs to do in this felony grand theft case is convince one juror that this was an “innocent misunderstanding.” If her lawyer succeeds in placing that element of doubt in one juror’s mind, Lindsay Lohan can walk out of this unscathed, unless the prosecutor decides to retry the case.

It is unlikely that Lohan will be sentenced to state prison because she is not a physical threat to anyone. It is also possible that Lohan will reach a plea deal and avoid a trial altogether. If she takes that route, she could get up to six months in county jail for the theft and probation violation. As Sitkoff states, in this particular case, the prosecution could find a way to ensure that Lohan does substantial time and prohibit her from early release. Other possibilities include felony probation with no jail time. The charge could also be reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor.

California has increased the minimum threshold for grand theft on personal property to $950. On August 24, the California Senate passed Assembly Member Tom Ammiano’s bill to increase the threshold. Previously, anyone convicted of stealing $400 worth of goods or more could be charged with grand theft. Now the value of the items stolen must exceed $950 for the crime to be charged as grand theft. This is a significant change to the law for anyone charged with theft in California as the penalties for grand theft are substantially harsher then those for petty theft or shoplifting.

There are exceptions to this new $950 threshold. For example, when farm crops or aquacultural products are stolen, the minimum threshold for grand theft is only $250. Also, stealing guns or motor vehicles will result in grand theft charges, regardless of the value of the items.

Under the new bill, theft of items valued under $950 may result in a misdemeanor charge, up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Theft of goods valued over $950 may result in a misdemeanor or felony charge and up to three years in state prison. Grand theft of a firearm may result in 16 months to three years in state prison and grand theft auto may lead to one year in state prison and a $5,000 fine.

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