The Law Office of John M. Holmes is exclusively a criminal defense firm, practicing in Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange, and Los Angeles counties. John M. Holmes built this criminal defense firm on a foundation of ethical and aggressive representation. Mr. Holmes takes pride in handling your case from start to finish, and he is available for his clients 24-7.

This office handles every type of theft related criminal case, from shoplifting to first degree robbery. If you were arrested for first or second degree burglary, receiving stolen property, grand theft, vehicle theft, armed robbery, fraud, carjacking, or petty theft, contact the Law Office of John M. Holmes. This firm can help ease the burden on your family and keep you out of jail.

In San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, even minor theft cases are treated seriously and prosecuted aggressively. A shoplifting case can be charged as a grand or petty theft, robbery, or burglary, depending on the circumstances. There is a broad spectrum of criminal charges in this area and it is important to retain an experienced theft attorney to protect your rights


Grand theft and petty theft (often a shoplifting case) are similar charges, with differences only in the value of the goods or services and the punishment. Petty theft is a theft of goods or services valued at $400 or less and grand theft is more than $400. Petty theft as a first offense is a misdemeanor. Grand theft or petty theft as a second offense can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. A prosecutor will consider the circumstances when charging the crime, including the value of the property and how the theft was executed.

Theft is a situation where: 1) a person permanently deprives another person of personal property (or money) or defrauds another person out of land services; and 2) the person feloniously intended (with the intent to commit a crime) to do so.

The prosecutor must prove that you had the intent to steal the property. Where there is no permanent deprivation, the courts have still found a person had the intent to steal if the person took an item, and tried to sell it back to the owner, claim a reward, or return it for a refund.

It is important to properly protect yourself from even a misdemeanor theft charge, because companies will often not hire persons with a theft conviction.


California law defines this crime as “entering a structure with the intent to commit a felony (or a petty theft) once inside.” Burglary may be charged as a felony or misdemeanor depending on the circumstances of the case and the criminal history of the person charged. Burglary allegations are treated seriously in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties. If you are convicted of felony burglary as a first offense, you face up to 6 years in State Prison. Persons convicted of burglary can also receive a “strike” on their criminal record under California’s Three Strikes Law.

Burglary is classified in the first and second degrees. First degree burglary is always charged as a felony. Second degree burglary can be prosecuted as a felony or misdemeanor. First degree burglary is the burglary of an inhabited dwelling (a place where someone lives or sleeps). Second degree burglary is commonly referred to as commercial burglary, and it includes every other type of burglary.

Burglary penalties can be quite severe; however, there can be good defenses to the charge. If a person enters the structure without the intent to commit a felony, he/she is not guilty of burglary. Similarly, a mistake of fact (you believed your property to be in the structure and you were retrieving it) is also a successful defense to the charge of burglary.


California, receiving stolen property is defined in Penal Code Section 496. If you knowingly buy, sell, receive, conceal, or withhold stolen property you may be convicted of this charge. Receiving stolen property is a “wobbler” offense, meaning the prosecutor can charge it as a misdemeanor or felony. A person’s criminal history and the circumstances of the case are considered when charging this offense.

The prosecutor must show that: 1) the property was stolen; 2) you received the stolen property; and 3) you knew the property was stolen. The most common defenses include a mistake of fact (you didn’t know the property was stolen) or an innocent intent (you intended to return the property to the rightful owner or police).

A person can be charged for both receiving stolen property and the initial theft (petty or grand theft, robbery, burglary, etc.); however, a person cannot be convicted of both crimes. Since receiving stolen property often has a lower penalty than the actual theft, Mr. Holmes has been successful in negotiating favorable results for his clients.


Robbery is defined under California law as the taking of someone else’s property from their body or immediate possession by force or fear. Robbery is a felony in California, and depending on the circumstances, carries up to 9 years in State Prison. Since robbery is achieved through the taking of property from someone’s presence, this criminal offense is considered a “violent felony under the California Penal Code and is punished severely. Accordingly, persons convicted of robbery can receive a “strike” on their criminal record pursuant to California’s Three Strikes Law.

In California, robbery is defined in the first and second degrees. A first degree robbery offense includes robberies of: passengers or drivers of any type of commercial vehicle (train, bus, taxi, etc.), inhabited homes, and people who are using or have just finished using an automated teller machine (ATM). Second degree robberies include any other type of robbery not included in first degree.

If convicted of first degree robbery, you face 3, 4, or 6 years in State Prison. However, if you and at least two other people robbed an inhabited home, building, etc., you face a 3, 6, or 9-year sentence. Robberies in the second degree carry 2, 3, or 5 years in State Prison

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