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Theft is the act of depriving another person of their property. The best thing that you can do if you are facing theft charges is to hire an attorney. You can also be charged with theft if you attempt to deprive someone of their property. Your attorney can help you gather the evidence that you need to either get the charges dismissed or punishment reduced.
Types of Theft
The type of theft that you are charged with will depend on the type of property that was stolen and the value of the property. You can be charged with either petty theft or grand theft.
You can be charged with petty if the property that you stole was under a certain amount. In most cases, the value of the property is less than $1,000. Petty thefts are typically classified as misdemeanors.
If you steal something that is over $1,000, then you may be charged with grand theft. Grand larceny is the most serious offense that you can be charged with. This is a felony in every state. The value of the property must be above a specified amount. They also have to be able to prove that you intended to permanently deprive a person of the property.
Consequences of Theft
Petty Theft Charges
Petty theft charges are typically misdemeanors. Most people who are charged with a misdemeanor spend less than six months in jail. The maximum punishment will be less than one year.
Grand theft can be classified as a misdemeanor or felony. It will depend on the circumstances that surrounded the theft. There are several things that the prosecutors have to consider. This includes the criminal history, the way that the theft occurred and other charges.
While a person will typically spend less than one year in jail for a misdemeanor, people can spend over a year in state prison for a felony.
Grand Felony Theft
The threshold value of the property must be met or exceeded in order to be charged with grand felony theft. Prison time, restitutions and fines are some of the possible punishments that you can face.
Factors That Affect the Penalties
Types of Property
If you steal a firearm or vehicle, then you will automatically be charged with a felony. You may also be charged with a felony if you steal a search and rescue dog.
The Manner of the Theft
The way that you obtained the item that you stole will also determine the type of crime that you are charged with. For example, if someone points a gun at someone to rob them, then they can be charged with a felony. A person can also be charged with a felony if they rip a purse from a woman.
A person who is caught stealing once will get a lighter sentence than a person who is a repeat offender. If a person has a criminal history, then they can face a harsher punishment even if they had not stolen in the past.
It is important to note that restitution, fines and jail time are not the only consequences associated with stealing. This could be a part of your permanent record. When employers see your record, they may deny you even if you are qualified. There is also a social stigma associated with stealing. People may label you as a thief even if you stole something several years ago.
Additionally, if you are not a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, then you can be deported. You may not be allowed to come back to the country.
Why You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney
The thought of having to pay a hefty fine or spend time in jail can be scary. The penalties can affect your professional and personal life. However, if you have a qualified attorney on your side, then you may be able to get your charges dropped. If you do end up getting punished, then the punishment will likely be a lot lighter.
Time is of the essence when you are facing criminal charges. Your criminal defense attorney can start working on your case as soon as you contact them.