What are crimes against property?
Crimes against property are those class of crimes that deal with the taking of or destruction of private property. Examples of crimes against property are theft, burglary, larceny and arson however, crimes such as fraud and embezzlement and identity theft also fall under the heading crimes against property. Extortion, and destruction of railroad bridges, highways, bridges and telegraphs also fall under the heading of crimes against property.
Common to all these crimes is the intent of the criminal to take for personal gain property that belongs to another without the consent or knowledge of the property owner. In crimes involving fraud and embezzlement, there is an unlawful taking for personal gain, but the taking may still be without consent or knowledge because the criminal used deception, schemes or cheating.
What kind of punishments are imposed on crimes against property?
The usual punishments imposed on crimes against property include imprisonment and restitution. The severity of the penalty depends, often, on the amount or value of the thing taken and the circumstances surrounding the accomplishment of the crime. For instance, when threat or violence are used in the commission of the crime, the punishment is more severe. When the unlawful taking of property is accomplished with the use of a gun or a bladed weapon, the punishment is also more severe.
It is a different class of crimes altogether when during the commission of a robbery a crime against person is committed such as assault, rape, homicide or murder. These are more severe crimes and they are treated as complex crimes because two or more crimes result from one single act or intent. While the crime of robbery involves an unlawful taking of property belonging to another, it is penalized as a crime against person.
How are crimes against property penalized in California?
In 2014, Proposition 47 was passed into law by the California legislature. Proposition 47 lowered the penalties of some crimes against property. This law downgraded the penalty for nonviolent felony offenses to facilitate the release of prison inmates and relieve the problem of overpopulation in California jails. The law also required prison inmates undergo drug treatment and rehabilitation prior to release. Qualified California prison inmates enter a work release program.
Proposition 47 downgraded some felony theft offenses to misdemeanors when imprisonment was no longer imposed as penalties on those crimes. People who steal to fund their drug habits are no longer imprisoned. Under Proposition 47, a person who steals another person’s property will not be imprisoned if the value of the thing stolen is less than $950. Also, people who had been convicted of property crimes can apply to wipe their records clean. A clean record will then allow former convicts the chance to qualify for jobs.
Unfortunately, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has reported statistics that show a steady increase in rates of property crimes in California at the same time when property crime rates have decreased in other states. The rates of repeat offending have also increased. Theft of property of small value has increased as well. These tend to prove that because the penalties for some forms of property crime have been lowered, the incidence of these crimes have increased. The law has worked in reducing the population of California prisons, but it has increased the incidences of crimes against property. It has also increased state expenses on litigating and processing repeat offenses.
If you are facing charges of theft or larceny, there is a possibility that you need not be imprisoned for the crime you committed. Call Ramiro J. Lluis Law Office and speak with any of their experienced lawyers for legal assistance and representation. They are willing to help.