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Los Angeles Mail Theft Attorneys

Defense Against Mail Theft Charges in Los Angeles

The U.S. Postal Service is cracking down on rising mail theft, as reported in a recent article published by Reuters. The extent of recent criminal activities includes letter carrier robberies, thefts from mail receptacles, and the use of counterfeit postage nationwide. Mail theft has spiked in Southern California recently, as stated on NBC Los Angeles. Stealing mail is a federal crime, and it is also prohibited under California law. If you are facing mail theft charges in Los Angeles, consult with an experienced theft crime defense lawyer as soon as possible.

At Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP, we limit our practice exclusively to criminal defense. Our attorneys include a former Deputy District Attorney, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, and a former Assistant Head Deputy for the Major Crimes Division in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. We have decades of experience and a history of success in criminal defense matters.

Call us at (213) 688-0460 to schedule a free consultation if you have been charged with mail theft.

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What Is the Law on Mail Theft in California?

Mail theft is prohibited under the California Penal Code at Section 530.5(e). The law states:

“(e) Every person who commits mail theft, as defined in Section 1708 of Title 18 of the United States Code, is guilty of a public offense, and upon conviction therefor shall be punished by a fine, by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year or by both a fine and imprisonment. Prosecution under this subdivision shall not limit or preclude prosecution under any other provision of law, including, but not limited to, subdivisions (a) to (c), inclusive, of this section.”

It is illegal to take or steal any item of mail sent through the U.S. Postal Service. Receiving, buying, or possessing stolen mail, hiding or destroying it, or obtaining mail through fraud or deceit is also prohibited. Examples of mail theft include:

  • Taking a package delivered to someone else’s house
  • Stealing mail from a carrier or a mail vehicle
  • Breaking into a mailbox and taking mail
  • Opening, hiding, or destroying stolen mail

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What Are the Consequences of a Mail Theft Conviction?

Mail theft is a misdemeanor offense in California. It carries up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. A judge may impose probation rather than jail time. It should be noted that, although typically prosecuted by the state, mail theft is also a federal crime. If the federal government decides to prosecute for any reason, penalties can be much more severe, including a potential prison sentence of up to five years.

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Legal Defenses Against Mail Theft Charges

The defenses your attorney can raise on your behalf will depend on the circumstances surrounding your case. Possible legal defenses against mail theft charges include:

  • You took the mail by mistake: It is not uncommon for mail to be delivered to the wrong location.
  • You thought the mail was yours: It is a valid defense to mail theft charges if you took and opened someone else’s mail, believing it was yours.
  • You had no intent to steal the mail: If you removed a package from your neighbor’s front step to keep someone else from stealing it and fully intended to give the package to your neighbor unopened later, you are not guilty of mail theft.
  • Your constitutional rights were violated: If the police obtained evidence of mail theft through illegal search and seizure, that evidence may be inadmissible, and your charges may be dismissed.

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Here To Provide the Strong Defense You Deserve

For a powerful defense against mail theft charges, contact Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP. Our Los Angeles federal crime lawyers know criminal defense inside and out and are at your service. We will take an assertive approach to your case, act fast in your defense, and provide the valuable legal representation you deserve.

Call (213) 688-0460 today for a free initial consultation.

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Contact Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP Today
Phone: (213) 688-0460
Fax: (213) 624-1942

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