Attorneys Who Are Problem Solvers

Theft And Fraud

Orange County Fraud Defense Lawyer

“Theft” and “fraud” are relatively broad legal terms that apply to various criminal offenses. If you are convicted of either crime, you may be required to repay whatever was taken from the victim in question and face additional penalties. A theft or fraud charge may also interfere with your ability to immigrate to the United States or remain in the country legally. If you find yourself in this situation, a fraud defense lawyer in Costa Mesa is likely to be the best asset to have as you prepare to defend against the criminal charges against you.

Criminal charges of theft or fraud could lead to time behind bars, fines, and other consequences that could have a negative impact on the rest of your life. If you are facing these types of charges, you would be wise to fight back with the help of our experienced defense attorneys at Brown & Stedman LLP.

We focus on solving problems for our clients, which means we will develop a defense strategy uniquely suited to your individual concerns. A conviction is never your only option, and we will help you fight back to protect your future, your freedom, and your personal interests. As soon as possible after an arrest, you can contact our Rancho Santa Margarita office for the qualified defense help you deserve.

Why Should I Hire an Orange County Fraud Defense Lawyer?

It’s vital to take full advantage of your constitutional rights when charged with a crime in California. Every American citizen has the right to legal counsel when they face criminal charges, even if they cannot afford one or do not wish to pay for a private defense attorney. The Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution allows a defendant in this position to secure defense representation from a public defender at no cost should they require it. However, if you can do so, hiring a private Orange County fraud defense attorney can offer a more robust defense representation.

The majority of Orange County public defenders are capable attorneys who work hard to do the best they can for their clients. However, they are required to handle multiple cases at a time, giving them very little flexibility in terms of providing personal attention to any given client. By comparison, you can expect more individual attention paid to your case when you hire a private Orange County fraud defense attorney to represent you.

Moderate Caseload Means You Receive More Attention

When you choose Brown & Stedman LLP to provide your defense representation, we will carefully review the details of your case and help you determine your best available defenses. We maintain a moderate caseload to ensure we can provide each client with the full scope of our resources and experience. We’ll prepare you for each stage of your case, and you can rely on us for timely updates on your case’s progress as new developments unfold within the court.

Ultimately, you are more likely to have a more positive experience when you hire an experienced private Orange County fraud defense attorney to represent you and are more likely to secure a favorable outcome for your case. The right defense lawyer can have a tremendously positive impact on the final result of your theft or fraud case, but you must obtain legal representation as soon as possible after your arrest.

What Do These Charges Mean?

When facing any type of criminal charge, it is beneficial to familiarize yourself with the nature of your case and the specific allegations against you. Theft is a type of property crime, and it happens when someone takes another person’s property without permission. There are different types of theft charges, and the severity of the charges against you depend on the value of the stolen property and other factors.

Theft charges are prosecuted in California based on the value stolen. The court will evaluate the value of the physical property and cash to determine the total amount unlawfully taken from the victim. In most theft cases, the defendant is liable for replacing or repaying the value stolen to the victim, and they will also likely face civil damages to the victim. When it comes to the actual criminal charges they face, theft can qualify as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the total amount stolen:

  • Theft under $950 in value is a misdemeanor in California, and recent changes to the state’s theft laws have made petty theft under $950 very difficult to prosecute. Over the past year, California citizens have seen a wave of brazen thefts in broad daylight. Criminals have cleared entire stores without paying for anything, leaving shop owners very little in the way of legal recourse. The new law makes pursuing any theft crime valued under $950 too burdensome for the court system to bother prosecuting, a decision decried by many people throughout the state.
  • Theft over $950 in value qualifies as grand theft, and this offense may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the unique details of the case. For example, if the defendant used a weapon in committing the theft, it would almost certainly qualify as a felony. In addition, if the defendant has a prior criminal record of previous theft convictions, the judge handling the current case would be unlikely to show leniency when choosing whether to pursue a misdemeanor or a felony charge.

When prosecuted as a misdemeanor, theft commonly incurs a penalty of a fine of up to $1,000 and six months in county jail. At the felony level, the offense is potentially punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to three years in state prison.

Fraud is a type of white collar crime, and it involves the deception of another person for the purpose of financial gain. There are different types of fraud, and they can include the following:

  • Credit card or debit card fraud. This type of offense can involve knowingly using another person’s credit card or debit card information without their consent.
  • Securities fraud. This offense pertains to the stock market, and there are various strict rules designed to eliminate fraudulent stock trading practices. Insider trading, or knowledge that is not yet publicly available to make stock-related decisions, is the most common form of securities fraud in the United States.
  • Insurance fraud. Filing a fraudulent insurance claim to collect an insurance claim payout can lead to severe legal penalties. In addition, this type of fraud offense often involves additional charges, such as the destruction of property or even physical harm to others.
  • Wire fraud. Wire fraud is any type of fraud that occurs digitally. A wide range of computer-related financial crimes fall within the scope of wire fraud, and the penalties for this type of offense can be severe.
  • Mail fraud. This type of fraud involves sending fraudulent materials through the mail or using a mail service to commit fraud. Interfering with US mail, including using a mail service to conduct fraud, is commonly prosecuted at the felony level.
  • Tax fraud. Defrauding the Internal Revenue Service, a state tax authority, or a local tax authority is a serious offense likely to qualify for felony prosecution.

Both fraud and theft charges involve unlawfully taking another person’s property, assets, or money. If you are facing either of these charges, you would be wise to fight back and seek a positive outcome to your case.

What to Expect From Your Orange County Fraud Defense Lawyer

Whether you face theft or fraud charges in Orange County, CA, it is crucial to be proactive in creating your defense against the charges you face. The right attorney can make this process easier by identifying all potential avenues of defense available to you. Your situation may seem hopeless at first, but you could have various options for defending yourself against theft or fraud charges.

If you did not commit the crime in question, it’s important to remember that the burden of proof in any criminal case rests on the prosecution. This means the prosecution is responsible for proving the defendant is guilty of the offense in question beyond any reasonable doubt. The defendant is not necessarily liable for proving they are innocent. However, establishing a solid alibi can disprove the allegations against you and avoid a stressful and expensive series of court proceedings.

If you broke the law and committed the offense in question, your Orange County fraud defense lawyer can still help you. When a conviction is a certainty, the prosecution may be willing to engage in a plea-bargaining process with you. A plea bargain exchanges the defendant’s immediate guilty plea for a lighter sentence or reduced charges. This would save the court substantial time and resources by allowing the prosecution to avoid a lengthy trial. In some theft and fraud cases, plea bargaining can mean the difference between a misdemeanor or a felony charge and significantly reduce the defendant’s total penalties.

When you choose the attorneys at Brown & Stedman LLP to represent you as your Orange County fraud defense lawyers, we will help you determine whether establishing an affirmative defense or pursuing a plea bargain would suit your best interests. In every criminal defense case that we accept, our goal is to secure an acquittal for our clients or reduce their sentences as much as possible. We have years of experience handling complex criminal defense cases on behalf of our clients, and we know how Orange County prosecutors tend to seek convictions in these cases. We are ready to leverage this experience on your behalf.

Start Building Your Defense Today

If you are facing criminal charges of theft or fraud in California, we can help. Our lawyers are experienced in complex criminal matters of all kinds, and we are dedicated to serving the interests of each client on a personal level.

Our firm offers free initial case evaluations, which means you can learn about your legal options without pressure or financial obligation. Call us at or send us an email to make an appointment. We help people located in Costa Mesa and nearby communities who have been charged with theft or fraud offenses.

Learn More About What We Can Do To Help

We invite you to call us at 949-459-5900 to schedule your free initial consultation. You can also reach our firm by contacting us online.

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Each time we take a case, we look at the big picture: What can we do to best help solve the problem as efficiently as possible. We use our experience and creativity to propose solutions that allow you to put your legal matters behind you.

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