Charged with a Theft Crime?

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In the area of criminal law, the category of theft crimes is one of the largest and broadest categories. Ranging from low level misdemeanors to life-in-prison felony sentences, a theft-related charge can come from virtually any context. The unifying principle that ties these different charges under one title is this: a crime involving the willful deprivation of something that is rightfully owned by another without their permission and with the intention of personal gain.

There are many actions of completely different natures that could be considered as theft, including:

  • Robbery
  • Burglary
  • Shoplifting
  • Embezzlement
  • Fraud

Crimes under this broader category are divided up by many classifications, the most common being by the value of what was allegedly stolen. Two of the most common types of theft crimes are petit theft and grand theft.

  • Petit Theft: Theft that involves stolen property or money which is valued at less than $300. Shoplifting is a well-known act of petit theft. Petit theft is punished as a misdemeanor unless certain aggravating factors (repeated offenses, the use of weapons, the threat of violence) are involved in the execution.
  • Grand Theft: Grand theft is a felony level offense that involves the theft of property or money valued at more than $300. Grand theft can also be made a more serious crime if the defendant is accused of using weapons or violence in obtaining the stolen property.

A low-level misdemeanor charge of petit theft, such as shoplifting, can carry a jail sentence of up to one year in jail. Other more serious charges, such as embezzlement and fraud, carry sentences of up to 30 years in prison (felony in the first degree).

Conviction of a theft crime can carry its penalties long into your future by creating a mark on your criminal record and automatically aggravating any future encounters with the law. Do not take the charge lightly but seek out defense representation right away. Contact Longwell Lawyers to discuss your situation and your options for defense in a free, confidential case consultation today.