Being accused of any crime is serious, but if you have been accused of theft it could mean a big prison sentence and a permanent criminal record. When someone commits a theft (sometimes called “larceny”), it means they have taken someone else’s property—physical or intellectual—without the intention of ever returning it. This means that someone can be convicted of theft even if they only have the intent to leave the store with an item and have not fully left yet. If you have been accused of committing theft, speak with the criminal defense attorney to see how we can help you with these charges. Do not try to fight these charges on your own without the help of an attorney. You want to ensure you have someone on your side who is familiar with criminal law and can help you with defense strategies before your trial.
Are there different types of theft?
There are, and typically you will see two main distinguishes between the types of theft:
1. Petty Theft
2. Grand Theft
Petty Theft. For something to be considered petty theft, the item stolen would need to have a low value. Depending on the state you live in, there might be a cap around $500 for petty theft. Anything after this would be grand theft. One of the most common examples of petty theft is shoplifting. For example, if someone is in a retail store and decides to shoplift a sweater worth $50, they may hide it in their purse or bag and attempt to leave the store. If the security officer sees this happen, they can charge the person attempting to shoplift before they have even left the store. The intent behind the shoplifting is important even if they do not leave the store.
Grand Theft. Grand theft, on the other hand, is a very serious offense, and may even be called “first-degree” theft. For a theft to be labeled grand theft, it could:
· Involve stolen property over $500.
· Be a particular type of property that was stolen, such as a car or even an animal.
· Be stolen directly from a person without using fear or force to do so.
What if I’m charged with theft for keeping lost property?
This can still be a valid theft charge. If someone finds lost property and they have the means of finding the owner (a wallet with a driver’s license or they saw someone drop the item) then it could be seen as theft. If, for example, you saw someone drop their wallet at a park and picked it up and kept the wallet, this is theft. If you saw a $50 bill lying on the ground and no one is nearby, it is unlikely someone could charge you with theft.
For more information on types of theft and how a criminal defense attorney can help you with your charges, reach out to a law firm now.