Increased Holiday Crimes & Crime Shifts in 2021: What You Need to Know if You or a Loved One Have Been Charged

To date, an estimated 1 in 3 Americans has dealt with depression since the early months of the pandemic (and it still persists, according to research by the Boston University School of Public Health). The impacts of depression are universal, with a 2015 Oxford University Study finding that those diagnosed with depression were three times more likely than the general public to commit violent crimes, including robbery and assault. 

Add to those statistics the increased pressure, drinking, and heightened emotions of the holidays, and it’s a recipe for an unfortunate increase in crimes including petty theft (shoplifting), identity theft, burglary/robbery, DUIs, domestic violence/assaults, and even homicides. (As mentioned in a previous article, homicides have sharply increased throughout California since the Pandemic’s start.)

Now more than ever, if you or a loved one is arrested and charged with a crime (including your child), you need the help of an experienced attorney for a Proper Defense. In the meantime, here are some overall/holiday crime statistics, details, and resources that can help you.


With a 30% increase in homicides and 20% increase in motor vehicle theft and commercial burglaries, it has been a troubling time in California. According to a recent Los Angeles Times article, Los Angeles crime (2021 especially) has been more brazen and invasive than ever. From smash and grabs to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars to follow-home robberies, top “holiday” crimes have been happening the whole year long.

Kids are not immune to the stressors of pandemic life. As covered in a previous blog, the impact of trauma on a young brain has serious potential negative implications that can last throughout life. School shootings have become so prevalent that an unnamed middle school student in San Rafael, California was arrested for threats he made on social media this past weekend

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: Criminality is a SYMPTOM. Making a mistake does not make you a bad person who is undeserving of legal defense and a second chance at life. A good attorney knows this and will let you know you aren’t alone in the legal process, even though it can feel isolating. Finding representation you can trust is key to the best outcome for your case.


The holidays are all about “more” — and sometimes that means more mistakes as emotions, crowds, and the number of drinks flowing tend to run high. Below is a list of the most common crimes that occur around the holidays. As mentioned previously, they include petty theft (shoplifting), identity theft, burglary/robbery, DUIs, domestic violence/assaults, and even homicides.

Petty Theft (Shoplifting) & Identity Theft

While petty theft and identity theft are two very different crimes, as traffic increases online during the holidays, it’s also a time for increased identity theft. 

Petty Theft (PC 484/488) is most commonly talked about as shoplifting. Technically, however, it is the stealing of any property (excluding guns and vehicles) that wasn’t taken directly from another person, is worth less than $950 — and is likely to be charged as a misdemeanor offense. First-time offenses under $50 can also be charged as an infraction, at the discretion of the prosecutor. Conversely,  any amount above $950 is grand theft, which is a wobbler. There have been some fundamental changes to Shoplifting laws (2021 and in previous years) that will be covered in a future post.

Identity Theft (PC 530). A common question I receive is, is identity theft a felony in California? My answer is that it can be, but it is technically a wobbler. By definition under the penal code, identity theft includes, “Every person who willfully obtains personal identifying information of another person, and uses that information for any unlawful purpose, including to obtain, or attempt to obtain, credit, goods, services, real property, or medical information without the consent of that person.” This can occur online and offline and includes mail fraud. 

Burglary and Robbery

Often used interchangeably, there is actually a big difference between burglary and robbery charges in California, as covered here. The difference isn’t always initially clear. Burglary (Penal Code 459), can start very similarly to a robbery. The main difference is that a victim is present during the theft.

For example, what would have been a home burglary with lesser “breaking-and-entering” consequences escalates when the owner turns out to be home and is threatened during the defendant’s escape. 

A defendant can actually be charged with both robbery and burglary. Let’s say a defendant took property from the home first, loaded it in a car, then went back in. The owner came home during this time and the defendant threatened him or her to get away. These can be charged as two separate offenses. Read this page for more information about burglary and robbery.

Driving Under the Influence (DUIs)

As covered in a post on the subject, there are unfortunately many common misconceptions about the potentially deadly consequences of getting behind a wheel “a little buzzed”. 

California DUI laws (2021) have been set for a while now and are based primarily on Blood Alcohol Content level (BAC). A BAC level of .08 is the legal limit of alcohol for a DUI charge in California. What constitutes being “under the influence” can vary greatly both by gender and weight. The DMV has a chart you have likely looked at many times before, but it is worth revisiting. While the chart provides general guidelines, avoiding a DUI is actually much more complex. BAC is actually only one factor of the needed evidence for a conviction. For more information, read this post about common defenses and preventing a DUI this holiday season.

Domestic Violence/ Assaults (and Battery)

While often lumped together, let’s go over a domestic violence charge (California) and assault/battery charges separately. After all, there is often confusion about what happens when a domestic violence call is made.

As covered here, once law enforcement arrives on the scene of a domestic violence call, they interview both parties involved to determine who was the aggressor and who was the victim. If there are visible injuries or a party admits to inflicting violence, the officers will usually arrest the aggressor who will then be booked into jail. If you are in custody, the district attorney’s office will have to file your case within 48 hours (excluding weekends and holidays) or you will be released. If your case is not filed within 48 hours, this does not mean that it will not be filed altogether. The district attorney’s office has up to three years to file a domestic violence case because it is a wobbler.

As covered here, Assault (California Penal Code (PC) 240) involves causing fear or apprehension of imminent violence (whether attempted or threatened) and is typically a misdemeanor. Battery, California Penal Code 242, involves using force or violence and is typically much more serious. Sometimes the only difference between an assault and battery is that an aggressor’s attempt to inflict violence didn’t work. 

For more information about domestic violence, read here. For more information about assault and battery, read here


As covered here, there is often some confusion around the term ‘homicide’ versus ‘murder’ or ‘manslaughter.’ 

Simply put, homicide is a legal term used on a death certificate when someone dies at the hands of another, no matter how. This includes murder, manslaughter, and even an accident.

Both murder and manslaughter have varying degrees and sentences, but all are considered felonies and count as a strike under the state’s three-strikes law (learn more about felonies here). The only exception is vehicular manslaughter involving drugs or alcohol, which is a wobbler. For more information about homicide-related charges, read here.

No matter how serious the charges are that you may be facing, there is hope. In some cases, you may also qualify for a misdemeanor diversion program or other related programs.

By hiring a skilled attorney at Proper Defense, we will work with you to learn what mitigating factors must be presented to the court in order to get you the best outcome possible. Our attorneys file briefs with supporting documents laying out the crucial factors that should be considered in your favor. One of our main focuses is conveying who our clients are to the court and the District Attorney through both writing and oral advocacy. 


When you are arrested, it can be a time of high stress. After all, the legal process can be overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. At Proper Defense, giving you peace of mind and sound guidance is our promise. 

For a true advocate that you can trust, in a judgment-free zone, contact Proper Defense Law Corporation today. For a FREE consultation in the Fresno area, call (559) 825-3800. You can reach us at our Beverly Hills location by calling (424) 284-4066. You can also schedule an appointment online on our Contact Us page. It gets better with Proper Defense, we promise.

In addition to this information, other available resources can be found through searches such as: holiday burglary statistics, national crime victimization survey, petty theft lawyer fresno, los angeles, beverly hills, petty theft attorney beverly hills, los angeles, fresno couny, orange county, petty theft attorney cost california, shoplifting laws in california for  minors, robbery definition california, armed robbery in california, police report identity theft los angeles, identity theft punishment california, california identity theft law, identity theft california penal code, domestic violence laws california, domestic assualt california, criminal defense lawyers beverly hills, los angeles, fresno county, what is a defense attorney, federal lawyers, affordable lawyers near me, identity theft attorney near me, identity theft lawyer cost, identity theft lawyer free consultation, identity theft lawyer california, best domestic violence attorney near me,  domestic violence attorney cost, domestic violence attorney los angeles, fresno top crimes 2021, crime rate los angeles, crime rate in los angeles 2020, or recent juvenile crimes 2021.

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