Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer
Violation of California Penal Code 503
Embezzlement is a violation of California Penal Code Section 503 and can be filed as a felony or a misdemeanor. “Embezzlement” is defined as the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person who has been entrusted. But skip the headlines – this is not just a crime limited to huge sums of money. You can be charged for very small amounts. You can even be charged – and convicted – even if you had no intention to keep the money/property in question. Sometimes, embezzlement may be charged if the conditions of a loan are unclear.
At the end of the day, you can be charged with embezzlement even when there is a misunderstanding between two parties about ownership over property. To find someone guilty of embezzlement, the defendant must have a relationship of trust with the victim. In addition, there must be intent to deprive the victim or owner of the property. A statement like “I intended to return the property” is not a defense.
There is a defense for embezzlement if the property was gained openly and under a claim of good faith. For instance, a good defense would be if you can show that there was an agreement about a loan or a transaction. But like any criminal charge, going alone (defending yourself) is not a good strategy. You could even wind up with a criminal record and jail time (both of which are hard to get back if you are innocent of the charges.
The best defenses for Penal Code 503:
- There was an arrangement or agreement regarding the property and you believed, in good faith, that you were entitled to the property.
- You lacked criminal intent.
- You are falsely accused.
A criminal attorney can advise you on your defense. For instance, you cannot have acquired the property without permission (e.g., to offset or pay back another obligation (Penal Code 511 PC). However, a charge of embezzlement could be reduced to a lesser offense (Petty theft, Penal Code 484-490 PC) – for instance, if there was misunderstanding over debt and you unlawfully retained property.
Sometimes, a charge of embezzlement may also involve one or more of the following additional charges:
- Petty Theft – California Penal Code 484-490 PC
- Grand Theft – California Penal Code 487 PC
- Forgery – California Penal Code 470 PC
- Receiving Stolen Property – California Penal Code 496(a) PC
- Burglary – California Penal Code 459 PC
Give us a call so we can plan a defense strategy and help you work with the laws concerning of embezzlement in California. The initial consultation is free.
There are many issues involved in all cases, and if you call the Law Offices of Stull & Stull, we can discuss them all with you. Don’t take your freedom for granted. Get professional legal help as soon as you possibly can to plan a defense strategy. Remember that the initial consultation is free.