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Grand Theft to Include Distinct Related Thefts Motivated by One Intent, and Aggregating to Over $950

On June 20, 2022, the governor of California approved assembly bill AB 2356, amending PC 487 on grand theft.

With the passing of AB 2356, the crime of grand theft now includes the following circumstances:

  • Separate acts of theft "motivated by one intention, one general impulse, and one plan".
  • Acts of theft conducted on different victims "as a result of one scheme or plan to defraud the victims and a single intent to act".
  • The value of items stolen under such circumstances will be aggregated and constitute grand theft if the value exceeds $950.
Grand Theft Also Applies To Some Items Valued Below $950

In certain cases, you can be charged with grand theft even when the value of the stolen items is below $950. These include:

  • Theft of domestic fowls, avocados, olives, fruits (citrus, deciduous or other), vegetables, nuts, artichokes, or other farm crops worth more than $250 in wholesale value is grand theft.
  • Stealing fish, shellfish, mollusks, crustaceans, kelp, algae, or other aqua cultural products from a commercial or research operation producing that product, is grand theft if the value of the stolen items exceeds $250.
  • Where a person takes money, labor, or property from their employer or principal and the value adds up to $950 or more over a consecutive 12-month period, this crime will be considered grand theft.
  • Taking property from one's person and
  • Theft of an automobile
  • Theft of a firearm
How AB 2356 Affects Changes Introduced by Proposition 47

PC 487 classifies grand theft as the theft of property whose value exceeds $950.

Before Proposition 47, grand theft also included the theft of the following items regardless of their value:

  • Firearm
  • Automobile
  • Livestock
  • Items that are on a person

When Proposition 47 was passed, it made these sorts of crimes petty theft if their value is below $950. Proposition 47 also enacted the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, classifying the theft of money, labor, or property as petty theft if the value of the stolen items is not more than $950.

After the amendment bill, theft involving any of the above types of items will be charged as grand theft if you have previously been convicted of:

  • A sex offense that required you to register as a sex offender
  • Felony convictions such as child molestation, rape, murder, and sexual violence

Taking property from one's person and theft of an automobile or firearm will also be charged as grand even without priors.


You have been arrested for stealing livestock from your neighbor valued at $250. You have no prior convictions for sex offenses, murder, or child molestation. The court will treat this crime as petty theft.

Now let's assume that in addition to theft of livestock, you also have a previous sex offense conviction, and you are therefore a registered sex offender. The court will convict you of grand theft.

Penalties for Grand theft

If accused of grand theft, the prosecutor will charge you with either a felony or a misdemeanor crime based on:

  • Prior arrests and criminal convictions
  • The circumstances of your case

If grand theft is charged as a misdemeanor, your punishment will be a jail sentence of up to one year in a county jail.

If charged as a felony, your punishment may be:

  • Felony probation in addition to one year in county jail, or
  • Sixteen months, two years, or three years in a county jail

Felony charges for grand theft of a firearm (grand theft firearm) attract a stricter sentence. If convicted, you will be jailed for sixteen months, two years, or three years in a state prison facility.

In addition, as grand theft of a firearm is classified as a serious offense, it is also subject to California's three strikes law, meaning you can be sentenced to 25 years to life for grand theft firearm if:

  • You are convicted of a serious felony offense
  • You have at least two convictions for a violent or serious felony offense

The three strikes law also imposes a double sentence on offenders with one prior conviction for a serious violent or serious conviction.

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