It might come as a surprise to some California residents that Santa Barbara’s crime rate is 10 percent higher than the California average and 17 percent higher than the national average. A higher crime rate can also mean a higher rate of false accusations or mistaken identifications. Every individual charged with a crime deserves an aggressive and effective defense. Individuals falsely accused of a crime have an even greater need to consult with a Santa Barbara attorney to clear their name and maintain their reputation.

The criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC have the competency and sophistication it takes to handle your criminal matter. Our attorneys have decades of experience in criminal defense and have brought justice to countless cases. We will use an aggressive and strategic approach to get the results to bring you peace of mind. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Santa Barbara criminal defense attorneys, call our offices at (805) 643-5555.

Property Crimes Rates in Santa Barbara, California

Fortunately for Santa Barbara residents, property crimes are much more common than violent crimes. If you find yourself facing a charge of any of the following offenses, it is critical to know how it is defined under California law and the possible penalties and defenses for each.

What are the Most Common Property Crimes in Santa Barbara?

Theft crimes in Santa Barbara are the most commonly reported crimes against property. These can be divided into petty theft, grand theft and burglary, with petty theft having the highest rate.

Petty Theft in Santa Barbara

Petty theft is defined under the California Penal Code Section 484 PC as, “the unlawful taking of property that is valued at nine hundred fifty dollars or less.” This crime most often takes the form of theft by larceny—the taking and carrying away of the property of another, with the intent to permanently deprive. However, there are a variety of other ways to be charged with petty theft, including:

  • Theft by trick (using fraud or deceit to convince the owner to let you take possession)
  • Theft by embezzlement (fraudulently taking property you were legally entrusted with)
  • Theft by fraud or false pretenses (using fraud or deceit to obtain both possession and title of the item)

Penalties and Defenses to Petty Theft

A misdemeanor under California law, the maximum penalty for petty theft is a fine of up to $1,000, up to 6 months in county jail, or both.  If you were charged with petty theft, you will want to keep the follow defenses in mind:

  • The item actually belonged to you;
  • You did not intend to steal the item;
  • The owner of the item consented to you taking it; and
  • You were falsely accused.

Be sure to accurately report all of the facts surrounding your charge to your defense attorney in order to come to the best possible defense.

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Violent Crime Rates in Santa Barbara, California

As mentioned above, violent crimes in Santa Barbara are much less common than property crimes. With a population of approximately 92,000, an individual stands a 1 in 31 chance of becoming a victim of a property crime and a 1 in 235 chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime.

What are the Most Common Violent Crimes in Santa Barbara?

Assault is the most commonly reported violent crime in Santa Barbara. Robbery, rape and murder are also at the top of the list, but are fortunately reported less than half as often.

Assault in Santa Barbara

Assault is defined under the California Penal Code Section 242 PC, “an unlawful attempt, couples with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another.” It’s important to note that one can be convicted of assault even if no one was actually harmed by the behavior; the mere intent to harm is enough. For instance, throwing an object at someone and missing may still constitute assault in California.

Penalties and Defenses to Assault

Since assault is also a misdemeanor in California, the same maximum penalties listed for petty theft apply: a fine of up to $1,000, up to 6 months in county jail, or both.
The legal defenses for assault include:

  • You acted in self-defense (or the defense of another);
  • You did not act willfully or with the required intent;
  • You did not actually have the ability to inflict force or violence to the other person; and
  • You were wrongfully accused.

No matter whether you are facing a charge of property crime or violent crime, it is essential to consult with an experienced attorney to determine your best course of action.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Serving Santa Barbara, California Today

If you or a loved one are facing a criminal charge in Santa Barbara, California, you want to give yourself the best possible chance of successfully resolving the case. The Santa Barbara criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC, understand that your livelihood and freedom are on the line and will do whatever it takes to effectively represent you. Our attorneys have the criminal defense experience and aggressive strategies it takes to protect your best interest. For peace of mind regarding your criminal charge in Santa Barbara, call us today at (805) 643-5555 for a free legal consultation.