Theft, which is also called larceny, is taking another person’s property illegally. There are two main categories of theft, i.e., grand and petty theft. Various theft crimes fall under these two categories. Some of these are robbery (armed and unarmed), embezzlement, fraud, and shoplifting. Although these different types of theft have the same fundamental elements, they are distinct and have variations.
An overview of theft charges and types of theft will be discussed below. Also, this article will give an overview of the role of theft crime lawyers in your theft case.
Theft as a Crime: What is it About?
Theft is taking someone’s property with the intention of depriving the owner of it. The statistics of the theft rate in the United States in 2021 were 1,394.1 different cases per 100,000 of the population. This provides information about the prevalence of theft crimes.
The role of theft crime lawyers is to examine your case, tell you the various consequences of your actions, and explain how to remedy your situation. Punishment for theft depends on the type of theft you are charged with. The various types of theft will be reviewed below.
Types of Theft Crimes
The crime is essentially divided into two categories: grand theft and petty theft. Grand theft is also called first-degree theft in some jurisdictions. It is a more serious offense than petty theft. Some of the following may fall under the category of grand theft:
- The property was stolen worth more than $500 to $1000.
- The property was taken from another person without the use of fear or force. Such as pickpocketing, theft of cars and animals.
Petty theft is another type of theft crimes that does not fall under the category of grand theft. It is also called second-degree theft in some jurisdictions.
Different Types of Theft Charges: Where Can Theft Crime Lawyers Help?
1. Identity Theft
Identity theft occurs when someone’s personal information is stolen in order to commit fraud, according to theft crime lawyers.The information may be used to get medical services, pay taxes, and apply for credits. This causes damage to a person’s reputation and good name. It also damages a person’s credit score.
People often confuse theft with robbery. Theft involves property, while robbery is against a person and their property. Thus, robbery is theft combined with force or intimidation. One of the essential elements of robbery is force.
It is the use of force that makes robbery different from ordinary theft. When robbery involves the use of weapons, it is called “armed robbery.”
This is deception under the guise of getting someone to give up their property. Fraud provides the perpetrator with unlawful gain. An example of such is misleading the government as regards their income to evade tax. Also, fraud is not limited to one person. It could involve more than one person or a company as the perpetrator.
This is taking goods from a shop or merchandise store without paying.
It involves the following:
- Taking possession of goods for sale from a retail store.
- Taking the goods without the consent of the store owner.
- Intention to permanently keep the goods taken from the store.
- Not paying the sale price of the goods.
5. Theft of Lost Property
According to expert theft crime lawyers, finding lost property and keeping it does not constitute theft. However, theft of lost property occurs when the finder can locate the owner of the property to return it but does not.
For example, Mr. A sees Mr. B’s wallet drop from his pocket. Mr. A goes over to pick up the wallet and keeps it for himself without returning it to Mr. B. The fact that Mr. A knows the wallet belongs to Mr. B but has not returned it makes it a theft.
This is forceful entry into a building to commit a crime. It is an entry into another person’s building to steal from the person.
When Does Theft Become Felony?
Theft crime lawyers stated that the value of the property stolen determines if it is a felony. It is a felony when the property stolen has the least value, ranging from $1000 to $2500. It varies by jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions have a minimum value of $500 to be considered a felony, while $1000 worth of property could be a misdemeanor in some other jurisdictions.
Punishment for Theft and Theft Jail Time
The punishments for theft differ. It depends on the jurisdiction and circumstances of each case. The common punishment across all jurisdictions includes:
Theft Jail Time
Prison sentences are for theft, which amounts to a felony. The length of a prison sentence varies and is determined by several factors. It could be between six months and three years. Non-first-time offenders could face prison sentences of several years or more. First-time petty theft offenders may be convicted with a light sentence, according to theft crime lawyers.
A person convicted of felony theft can also be told to pay fines along with a prison sentence. While misdemeanor theft is punishable only by a fine. A fine could be as low as $1000 or even as high as $150,000.
This is compensation paid to the owner of the property for the loss suffered. The court can order the convicted person to pay restitution to the owner of the property.
This requires complying with some terms ordered by the court for some time. The terms of probation could involve:
- meeting with a probation officer regularly
- having a job
- paying for child support
- to avoid association with some known criminals
- to undertake not to break more laws
Expert theft crime lawyers said that the court can increase the probation period if the terms are broken. The judge may also impose a jail sentence and a monetary fine. It is best not to violate probation terms to avoid additional penalties.
Any type of theft conviction carries criminal penalties. It has a variety of consequences, including making it difficult to find work. It also affects getting a loan and securing housing in the future. Even a theft charge changes the trajectory of a person’s life and could ruin them. Thus, when faced with theft charges, consulting experienced theft crime lawyers might be your best bet.