Robbery is using force or fear to take someone's property from the person's body or immediate possession.


Burglary is defined as unlawfully or lawfully entering a building with the specific intent to steal something or commit a felony. The state only has to prove intent and does not have to prove that you actually stole something or committed a felony.

California law separates burglary into two categories — first-degree burglary and second-degree burglary.

First-Degree Burglary

First-degree burglary is the burglary of any "inhabited dwelling" where people eat and sleep. The dwelling does not have to be occupied at the time of the break-in to be considered first-degree burglary. First-degree burglary is always a felony and counts as a "strike" under California's Three Strikes Law.

Second-Degree Burglary

Second-degree burglary occurs in any other type of structure, most often a commercial business. Second-degree burglary may be prosecuted as a felony or as a misdemeanor depending upon a number of factors, including the type of structure entered and whether a person has a criminal record or is currently on probation.


California law separates theft into two categories — petty theft and grand theft.

Petty Theft

In California, petty theft the unlawful taking of property valued at less than $950. There are a few different ways petty theft can be committed:

  • Theft by Larceny - Physically taking property that belongs to another person.
  • Theft by Trick - Obtaining property by defrauding the property owner. This is best explained with an example: changing the price tag on an item so that you pay less than is marked by the product’s seller.
  • Theft by Embezzlement - Taking property that has been entrusted to you by its owner.
  • Theft by False Pretense - Purposefully deceiving a property owner to persuade them to give you their property.

Petty theft does not have to be permanent. If you take property for a period of time long enough to deprive them of the use or value of the property you may be guilty of petty theft in California.

One of the most common ways petty theft is committed is through shoplifting. Shoplifting is a type of petty theft but is actually a separate criminal offense. Shoplifting is defined as “entering a commercial establishment with intent to commit larceny while that establishment is open during regular business hours, where the value of the property that is taken or intended to be taken does not exceed nine hundred fifty dollars ($950).”

Simply put, shoplifting occurs when you enter a store and intend to steal property worth no more than $950. You can be convicted of shoplifting even if you do not successfully leave the store with the property. The intent to commit the petty theft is sufficient.

Grand Theft

Grand theft is the unlawful taking of another person's property which is valued in excess of $950.

Under certain circumstances, the value of the property that is unlawfully taken is not considered and the charge is almost always a felony. This type of grand theft includes:

  • Grand Theft - Firearm
  • Grand Theft - Auto
  • Grand Theft - Farm Products
  • Grand Theft - Person

Robbery, Burglary, Theft And Other Charges

Conviction of robbery, burglary, or theft can result in imprisonment, fines, probation and other consequences associated with a felony conviction. If you or someone you love has been arrested and charged with burglary or robbery, the most important step you can take is hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer who has proven ability at both pretrial negotiations with prosecutors and courtroom litigation.

Angeli Fitch has established a record as a robbery, burglary, and theft lawyer who will go to trial when it is in a client's best interest, and who is also adept at negotiating with prosecutors for reduced charges or alternative sentencing when that proves to be the best resolution.

We have experience in both adult and juvenile courts. We assess the short- and long-term impact of any plea agreement before accepting it. We also emphasize clear communication with clients, explaining their options at every step and involving them in the decision-making process.

If you or someone you love faces robbery, burglary, or theft charges, don't wait to involve an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Call or email us to schedule a consultation.


San Francisco theft and shoplifting attorney Angeli Fitch defends people accused of shoplifting, petty theft, and grand theft in all Bay Area courts. Call 415-638-1092 to schedule a consultation.

Angeli R. Fitch

Fitch Law Office

201 Spear Street, Suite 1100

San Francisco, CA 94105





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