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  • Former Deputy San Diego City Attorney
  • Former USMC Captain
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Attorneys William R. Christoph & Nicholas W. Christoph

Is it a theft to find and not return lost property in Carlsbad?

On Behalf of | May 17, 2014

It is a theft to find lost property and not return it whether its found in Carlsbad or anywhere in California.  California penal Code 485 basically staes it is a theft to approrriate found property as your own under circumstances which give you knowledge of the true owner or a means of inquiry as to the true owner.  It is misdemeanor petty theft if the value of the property is $950 or less and felony grand theft if $950 or more.

It is the circumstances surrounding the finding of the property which determines whether the true owner is known or could be identified by inquiry.  Clearly if you find a wallet with money and identification, the owner is easly found just lke finding a lost dog with owner information tags on it.  Simply finding a $100 bill in a park where no one else is around is a completely different scenario.  Each case has to be examined on its own merits.  Finding lost property doesn’t automatically make that property yours.  

If you are charge with a theft offense, whether it is grand or petty theft, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible so an attorney can evaluate your case, and advise you as to things that may be done to either avoid a theft conviction or lessen the charge or consequences.  Call Christoph Law Offices at 760-670-3885 for a free consultation.  Criminal Defense Attorneys Nicholas and William Christoph located across from Vista Courts for over 30 years, have been providing the highest level of professionaal and personal representation for theft and theft related cases.



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I highly recommend Christoph Law Offices to everyone. Nick is a true professional who will go above and beyond for his clients. Thank you!
– Mahir B.


Amazing attorneys! Bill Christoph was very helpful during my case. He was always quick to get back to me about my questions.
– Collin W.


Great experience overall having William Christoph as my attorney. He understands his client, very insightful and is an expert in his field.
– Soheila N.

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