Have you been arrested or even just questioned by the police for a theft related crime?

Many people make a big mistake. They think that just because they are innocent, they don’t need the best criminal defense lawyer.

The Court system is designed to be “adversarial”. This means the District Attorney represents the government, not you. He has no obligation to tell you if there are holes in his case or weaknesses in the evidence. If the police violated your rights or made mistakes, the DA won’t tell you that a motion to suppress evidence or even to dismiss the case is appropriate.

The Judge can’t take sides, so he or she can’t tell you what to do either. The only person in the system who is on your side is your defense attorney. So YES, you do need the best criminal defense lawyer.

You should also know that if you let the Judge appoint the Public Defender, then the Judge must order you to reimburse the county based on your ability to pay. You will be ordered to appear in Court and waste many hours away from work and family. In addition, the Public Defender is under a lot of pressure to get rid of cases. They work for the government just like the District Attorney. We don’t have that pressure and so we can do whatever is best for you.

Our goal is to get the case dismissed or reduced. No one can predict the future, but we have a lot of success stories and just a few of them are on our web site. If you don’t hire us, you will never know if your case could have been dismissed or reduced.


The consequences of any conviction can be life changing. Depending on the charge, you can face significant time in custody. There are significant sentencing enhancements based on the amount of the loss suffered by the alleged victim. If the alleged victim is elderly, there are additional complications and sentence enhancements.

If you are not a citizen, you can be deported, even if you are a “Lawful Permanent Resident” and have a “Green Card.” For some offenses, there can be a lifetime ban on owning or possessing firearms and ammunition. (This consequence is very tricky. The rules under state law are different from the rules under Federal law.)

Theft crimes are crimes that involve the unauthorized taking of the property of another with the intent to deprive the true owner of it permanently. Historically, theft involved three different categories of crime: larceny, embezzlement and false pretenses.

Larceny was defined as the “trespassory” taking and carrying away of the property of another. Trespassory just means without consent or legal excuse.

Embezzlement was defined as the fraudulent taking of the property of another by someone who was already in lawful possession of it. For example, if a cashier keeps the money that a customer paid for an item at the store.

False pretenses involved a false representation of a fact by someone and this lie caused the victim to hand over title to the property to the defendant.

We now use the general term “theft crime” to represent different types of property crimes, including larceny, robbery, burglary, shoplifting and auto theft. There are many types of cases, and it is not possible to cover all the situations. However, the law was recently changed by Proposition 47. The initiative reduced the classification of most “nonserious and nonviolent property and drug crimes” from a felony to a misdemeanor. See the Reduced Penalties for Some Crimes Initiative.


Each case is unique, but there are two sides to every story. Attorney Mark Cantrell has licensed private investigators who will perform an independent investigation to find evidence to help you.

For example, was there a good faith and reasonable mistake such that you did not intend to steal? Here is a jury instruction that will help. A jury instruction is given by the Judge to the jury to tell the jury precisely what the law is in your case.


Many people are surprised to learn that the police are allowed to lie to the suspect in an attempt to obtain a confession or incriminating statements. This is just one more reason it is foolish to talk to the authorities. If you are under investigation call us immediately so we can protect you. Sometimes the police will do what is called a “ruse phone call.” The alleged victim will call you on the phone and make statements about what happened and try to get you to make admissions.

Do NOT talk to the alleged victim or to anyone else about the case. The police are recording the call and many times defendants will say something just to try to smooth things over and those statements will later sound very incriminating.

Mark Cantrell is well known in the Riverside criminal defense community as a trial attorney with many successful cases to his credit. When you visit his office, he will be proud to show you newspaper articles about his cases - not paid advertisements.

The biggest mistake an accused person can make is to retain an attorney who does not do trials. The District Attorney has no reason to compromise and give you a break if your attorney is known as a “plea bargain” attorney.