Two adults and one juvenile were arrested today after a mail carrier called Irvine Police Department and reported a possible package theft. The Irvine PD responded to the neighborhood and spotted the individuals in the vehicle described by the witness. After pulling the vehicle over, the individuals were positively identified and a search of the vehicle resulted in the discovery of multiple stolen packages and stolen credit cards. They are being charged with theft, conspiracy and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
During the holiday season, I see an increase in this type of crime. The reason for this is two-fold. One very obvious reason is that many people now do much of their holiday shopping on line and have the packages delivered to their homes. If they are not there, the packages are left unattended on the front door step. This makes is extremely easy for an individual to walk up and take the package in a matter of seconds and be gone with it. Another reason is that during the holiday season, people become desperate. People who cannot afford to buy gifts feel the pressure and this type of crime is just too easy to pass up. However, they are not thinking about the consequences of being caught. Not only the legal consequences but the monetary costs involved with hiring an attorney and the fees and fines associated if convicted.
The two adults are being charged with theft, conspiracy and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. All three of these violations are “wobblers”, meaning they may be filed as either felonies or misdemeanors. When the District Attorney is deciding whether to file a theft charge as a misdemeanor or a felony, the value of the items taken will determine that. Regarding a conspiracy charge, the circumstances and the value of the theft will determine whether to file as a felony or a misdemeanor.
California law defines a conspiracy crime as two or more people conspiring to commit a crime. The facts of the case will determine whether the District Attorney files it as a felony or misdemeanor. If convicted for misdemeanor conspiracy, the penalties may include fines and probation. However, if convicted as a felony, depending upon the circumstances, the penalty could mean several years in prison.
In this situation where the three individuals were arrested for taking packages, without knowing any details of the arrest, there may be defenses for these individuals. Typical defenses might be mistaken identity. Maybe the mail carrier made a mistake when he positively identified them and/or their vehicle. Another important detail that needs to be looked at in this situation is whether or not the police had probable cause to search the vehicle.
An experienced criminal defense attorney will know what to look for when defending these types of charges. Reviewing the police report and the witness statements, looking for inconsistencies and holes in the report will help determine what type of defense these individuals may have. However, it the evidence is overwhelmingly against the defendant, negotiating the best outcome should becomes an attorney’s priority, with a focus on avoiding jail time.
Anyone who is facing serious charges such as these should immediately seek the advice and assistance of a good Orange County, CA, criminal defense attorney.