Lost and mislaid property laws in California

Asked over 1 year ago - 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. Christine C McCall


    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree


    Answered . 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."

    No legal advice here. READ THIS BEFORE you contact me! My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended... more
  2. Athina Karamanlis Powers


    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyer agrees

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

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only, and should not... more
  3. Dakin Neville Ferris

    Contributor Level 9


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . 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.

Related Topics


The term property refers to things a person can own or possess. There are two types: real property (real estate) and personal property (everything else).

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On behalf of Andrew Boyer PC posted on Tuesday, April 23, 2013 Any divorce has the potential to be a massively complicated affair. Many Illinois couples spend months in court arguing... more

Residential property

Residential property is real estate that has been developed or zoned to be used for living, such as single family houses, apartments or mobile home parks.

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