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Lost and mislaid property laws in California

Mountain View, CA |

What are the laws regarding lost and mislaid property in California?
For example, am I allowed to keep the property? Do I have to give it to someone? Thanks.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Need more info. What kind of property . For how long .......

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  2. California Penal Code section 485 says: " One who finds lost property under circumstances which give him knowledge of or means of inquiry as to the true owner, and who appropriates such property to his own use, or to the use of another person not entitled thereto, without first making reasonable and just efforts to find the owner and to restore the property to him, is guilty of theft."

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  3. If the property in question is valued at over $950 (and sometimes if its less), you can be charged with a felony, and face up to three years in state prison and a $10,000 fine.

    That said, you need not go to extremes to identify the owner. You simply need to make a reasonable attempt.

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