If you or a loved one find yourselves in a difficult situation, we understand the urgency and stress that comes with it. At Angels Bail Bonds, we specialize in providing the support and assistance needed to secure bail for theft or fraud charges.
Learn the basics about the bail process for felony fraud charges, and then contact Angels Bail Bonds today. Let us be your trusted partner in navigating the bail process for felony fraud charges. We are here to help you regain your freedom and prepare for your legal journey.
What Is Bail?
Bail in California refers to the amount of money or property that a defendant or their surety (a person responsible for the defendant’s appearance in court) must deposit with the court to secure the defendant’s release from custody while awaiting trial.
The purpose of bail is to ensure that the defendant appears in court for all scheduled hearings and does not flee before the trial. A county bail schedule or table determines bail amounts, but a judge can deviate from the schedule based on various factors, including the severity of the offense, the defendant’s criminal history, and whether the defendant is a flight risk. If the defendant fails to appear in court, the bail is forfeited, and a warrant may be issued for their arrest.
What Are Bail Bonds?
When you find yourself in a situation where you can’t afford to pay for your bail, bail bonds might be the solution for you. A bail bondsman, who a bail bond company employs, will charge you a fee in exchange for providing the payment. Bail bond companies in California charge only 10% of the total bail amount to post-bond for a defendant. So, if the cost of bail is $20,000, the bondsman will charge $2,000 instead of the full amount. While this may still seem like a lot of money, it’s much more affordable than paying the entire bail amount, especially on extremely high bail amounts for some serious felonies.
Those rates can be as high as 20% for some immigration and federal charges because these rates are set by law, and all bail companies must charge the same amount. Despite the costs, using a bail bondsman can be a lifesaver for those who cannot afford to be released from custody on bail.
What Happens At A Bail Hearing?
The amount of bail is normally set at the person’s initial court appearance, often known as the arraignment stage or pre-trial detention. A judge can either release a person on their own recognizance (OR) with a promise to appear in court at a later date or deny their OR.
If the charges are infraction offenses or even some misdemeanor offenses—such as a DUI with no accident injuries or significant property damage— the person will usually be released without bail after being arrested. More serious felony charges, like assault with a deadly weapon or even murder, will not have OR as an option and will only be released from custody on bail.
You must pay the bail amount or post a bail bond on the bail schedule. An arresting officer, like the police officer, might ask for a higher bail amount than what the schedule suggests.
What Factors Influence a Defendant’s Bail Amount?
The bail bond process starts when a defendant is in front of a judge to determine bail. Then, several factors are put into play, including the severity of the crime, criminal history, whether the defendant is a flight risk, community ties, financial resources, their potential danger to public safety, and even mental health are considered when determining bail amount.
The bail schedule further gives guidance for all criminal charges, with the judge having some leeway in the specific amounts, as mentioned. And even if they’re allowed out on bail, the defendant might have to be placed under house arrest, be prohibited from owning any deadly weapons or placed under electronic monitoring.
Have You Been Charged With Criminal Felony Fraud PC 484?
If you’ve been charged with a criminal offense like felony fraud, you or a loved one must contact the experts at Angels Bail Bonds immediately. Our team of bail bondsmen and criminal defense lawyers provide assistance during pre-trial detention at no extra cost, including nationwide.
What is Felony Fraud or Theft by Fraud or Trick?
Under California Penal Code 484, theft by trick is a specific form of theft by larceny where an individual obtains someone else’s property through deceit or trickery. This theft offense occurs when a person intentionally deceives or tricks another person into gaining control over their property with the intent to permanently deprive them of it.
All theft by fraud or trick are petty theft charges and misdemeanor charges unless the worth of the goods or personal property stolen by fraud is above $950 in California.
To be guilty of theft by trick, several elements must be proved:
- Intent: The defendant must have the intent to commit theft, knowing that they are obtaining someone else’s property without their consent.
- Deception: The defendant must use deceit, fraud, or trickery to convince the victim to give up their property. This can involve false representations, false promises, or misrepresentation of facts.
- Property: The property involved must have value and belong to someone else. It can be tangible items, money, or intangible assets.
- Control: The defendant must gain control over the property, either physically or by obtaining the victim’s consent to transfer ownership or possession.
- Permanence: The defendant must intend to permanently deprive the victim of their property. If the intent is temporary or the property is returned later, it may not be considered theft by trick.
To illustrate theft by trick, consider the following scenario: John approaches Mary and convinces her that he is a repairman sent by her landlord to fix her plumbing. He gains access to her house and steals her valuable jewelry while pretending to work on the plumbing. In this case, John’s deceitful actions, misrepresenting himself as a repairman and using that deception to gain access to Mary’s property, constitute a theft by trick, as well as burglary.
The literal wording of PC 484 is:
(a) Every person who shall feloniously steal, take, carry, lead, or drive away the personal property of another, or who shall fraudulently appropriate property which has been entrusted to him or her, or who shall knowingly and designedly, by any false or fraudulent representation or pretense, defraud any other person of money, labor or real or personal property, or who causes or procures others to report falsely of his or her wealth or mercantile character and by thus imposing upon any person, obtains credit and thereby fraudulently gets or obtains possession of money, or property or obtains the labor or service of another, is guilty of theft. In determining the value of the property obtained, for the purposes of this section, the reasonable and fair market value shall be the test, and in determining the value of services received the contract price shall be the test. If there be no contract price, the reasonable and going wage for the service rendered shall govern. For the purposes of this section, any false or fraudulent representation or pretense made shall be treated as continuing, so as to cover any money, property or service received as a result thereof, and the complaint, information or indictment may charge that the crime was committed on any date during the particular period in question. The hiring of any additional employee or employees without advising each of them of every labor claim due and unpaid and every judgment that the employer has been unable to meet shall be prima facie evidence of intent to defraud.
Like other theft charges, the accused can face several enhanced sentences depending on the circumstances of the case, like if someone or the victim incurred bodily harm because of the theft or fraud.
Types of Felony Fraud Charges in California
Theft by trick or fraud is considered a form of theft in California and is punishable as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the value of the property involved and the defendant’s criminal history. The penalties can range from a fine to imprisonment, depending on the circumstances of the case.
Other Examples of Felony Grand Theft
Felony grand theft is also committed when the property is taken:
- Is a firearm
- A motor vehicle (grand theft auto)
- From the victim’s person, as in a mugging.
Burglary refers to unlawfully entering a building with the intent of committing theft or a felony. Specifically, it’s either of two scenarios: entering a residential building with the intent of committing a theft crime or felony entering a commercial establishment with the intent of stealing $950 worth or more of goods, and doing so after business hours.
In California, those two scenarios of burglary are categorized as two degrees: first-degree and second-degree. First-degree burglary, also known as residential burglary, occurs when a person unlawfully enters a structure where the victim resides with the intent to commit theft or a felony. Second-degree burglary encompasses all other types of structures, including business or commercial establishments.
If additional felony offenses are committed during the burglary, such as grand theft or bodily injury to a victim, enhanced penalties may apply. It is important to note that residential burglary, or first-degree burglary, is always considered a felony under California law, unlike a burglary on a commercial establishment, which might carry a lesser sentence and be a misdemeanor if the stolen goods are worth under $950 and done in business hours.
Custodial Institution Burglary
This type of theft crime is rare but worth mentioning. It is a theft crime carried out in a jail or correctional institution against correctional officers or peace officers “with the intent to steal items of use or convert for use as a weapon, escape tools, or intoxicating drugs.” Like with other theft crimes, it can be subjected to enhanced penalties if there was a bodily injury from a deadly weapon or altercation during the burglary or theft.
California Penal Code Section 530.5 informs us of another type of theft in which the property stolen is someone else’s personal identifying information and used for any unlawful objectives, “including to obtain, or attempt to obtain, credit, goods, services, real property, or medical information without that person’s consent.” How a victim’s identity is taken and classified as theft is also broad, like falsifying a victim’s signature, obtaining the information under false pretenses, or stealing account numbers, diver’s licenses, or social security information. It is also a type of fraud and might be prosecuted by federal authorities as well.
This crime is a wobbler but can be charged as a felony punishable by up to 3 years of jail time or in prison, depending on the circumstances of the case, the amount stolen from the victim via fraud, and other factors.
Theft by Fraud under PC 532
Theft by fraud, as defined in PC 532 of the California Penal Code, also refers to the act of unlawfully obtaining someone else’s property or money through deceptive or deceitful means. It involves intentionally making false representations or promises with the intent to deceive the victim and induce them to give up their property or money. This can include various forms of fraud, such as false pretenses, embezzlement, or identity theft, and is a criminal offense punishable under California law.
Other Types of Fraud in California
In California, fraud is a prevalent type of crime that encompasses various illegal activities. One common type of fraud is insurance fraud, which involves individuals or businesses providing false information or making exaggerated claims to obtain insurance benefits or compensation. This can include staging accidents, exaggerating injuries, false entries on reports, or submitting false documentation.
California is also known for its share of investment fraud cases. This type of fraud typically involves misleading or deceiving investors to invest in fraudulent schemes or Ponzi schemes. Perpetrators often promise high returns or guaranteed profits, but in reality, they use the funds from new investors to pay off earlier investors, creating a cycle of deception. This type of fraud can result in significant financial losses for unsuspecting individuals.
Overall, fraud encompasses a wide range of criminal activities in California, including identity theft, insurance fraud, credit card fraud, and investment fraud. These crimes not only have financial implications but can also cause significant emotional distress and damage to victims. Law enforcement agencies and regulatory bodies in California actively work to combat fraud and protect individuals from falling victim to these deceptive practices.
Penalties in Felony Fraud Cases
Petty theft is typically treated as a misdemeanor offense. This means that those with a petty theft conviction may face several months in jail or up to a year, or they may receive probation or fines as an alternative to jail time.
However, for individuals charged with grand theft under PC 487, the penalties can vary depending on various factors. Generally, felony grand theft is punishable by a jail term ranging from 16 months in county jail to 3 years in county jail. In addition, there may be fines of $10,000 or more and the possibility of extending the prison sentence.
When it’s first-degree burglary, it carries a potential prison sentence of four years or more. The exact duration depends on factors such as whether there was bodily injury to a victim, another felony crime involved, or the defendant’s criminal history.
Grand theft auto can result in a prison term of up to 3 years and fines of $10,000. However, if the value of the stolen vehicle exceeds $65,000, there are enhanced penalties. In such cases, an extra year of jail time may be added. Furthermore, if the vehicle’s value surpasses $200,000, the prison sentence could be extended by up to two years.
Average Bail for Felony Fraud
Felony fraud in the California Penal Code is PC 484, and initial bail is set on the schedule at $20,000 to $50,000, although this varies throughout Southern California, with some, like Orange County, charging $20,000 for petty theft alone but less for theft by embezzlement, for example.
You Need An Experienced Bail Bond Agent That Specializes In Felony Fraud Defense
The bail bond process for a felony fraud charge is serious and without expert help at your side, as the standard bail for felony fraud is $20,000 to $50,000. Nonetheless, a bail bond company and a criminal defense attorney can aid you during this difficult time and help you and your loved one obtain that money.
Common Defenses Against Felony Fraud
When facing theft by fraud or grand theft charges under PC 484, there are several common legal defense strategies and arguments that can be employed. One possible defense strategy is challenging the element of intent.
The defense may argue that the defendant did not have the necessary intent to permanently deprive the property owner of their personal property. They may claim that the defendant had a legitimate belief beyond a reasonable doubt that they had a right to the property or that they intended to return it after a period of time.
Another defense strategy is questioning the value of the stolen property. In cases of grand theft, the value of the stolen property must exceed a certain threshold. The defense may argue and prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the prosecution has failed to prove the value of the personal property meets this threshold, therefore resulting in a lesser sentence.
They may also challenge the method used to determine the value, potentially arguing that the value has been exaggerated or inaccurately calculated.
A third defense strategy could involve asserting a lack of evidence. The defense may argue that there is insufficient evidence to prove that the defendant committed the crime of grand theft. They may challenge the credibility of witnesses or question the reliability of any physical evidence presented. The defense may also argue that the prosecution has failed to establish a chain of custody for the alleged stolen property, raising doubts about its authenticity or ownership.
Free Consultation & Case Review
Do you know someone who has been arrested for felony fraud? Look no further because we are here to help during these challenging times. At Angel Bail Bonds, we work with experienced bail bondsmen and criminal defense attorneys to be your best option, even in cases where you need bail for theft, assault with a deadly weapon, sexual assault, or felony theft by fraud. We offer flexible payment plans and affordable rates to make the process more manageable for you and your loved ones. If you have any questions about how bail laws and the bail bond process work or if you need assistance helping a loved one in Los Angeles, Orange County, or anywhere else in California, don’t hesitate to call us today.