Theft crimes, at first thought, may seem like relatively minor infractions. If you have been arrested or charged with a theft crime, you may be tempted not to take it very seriously. However, theft crimes can carry large penalties including significant jail time. It is important to carefully plan your defense for all potential criminal charges, including those regarding stolen property. The best way to do this is by hiring a competent, experienced, and professional criminal defense attorney in your local area. An attorney will know the law of your state and can help you understand the crime alleged against you and will help you prepare your defense. In the meantime, here are a few important things for you to know about theft crimes:
- Theft of someone else’s property can be called many different things. Depending on the state you are in and the facts of the case, crimes regarding the theft of property may be called several different things, including:
- Embezzlement. Embezzlement is the stealing of someone else’s money when you are trusted with its management by the owner. Usually, this involves stealing money from your workplace.
- Grand theft. Grand theft is stealing of something with a value over certain statutorily set amount, typically around $1,000. You may have also heard the term grand theft auto, which involves the stealing of a vehicle. Grand theft carries higher penalties than other types of theft which involve stealing property of lesser value.
- Larceny. Larcey is simply stealing someone else’s property. Depending on the amount stolen, this may be called grand theft. In some jurisdictions grand theft and larceny are the same crime.
- Robbery: Robbery is stealing someone else’s property by force. Armed robbery is taking someone else’s property using a weapon, a crime which typically carries a higher potential penalty because of its dangerous nature.
Theft crimes do not only involve stealing of physical property or money. You can also be charged with a theft crime for stealing someone’s electronic information such as credit card data, valuable documents or information, or their identity.
- Theft crimes can carry harsh penalties. Theft crimes can be felonies. If you are convicted of a felony you almost certainly face at least a year of jail time and can lose other important rights, such as access to housing and the right to vote. Whether a theft crime is a felony depends on many things. Most importantly, it depends on the law of the jurisdiction in which you are being charged. Jurisdictions consider may things when determining whether a felony was a theft including the value of the stolen property, and whether the property was taken by force.
As you can see, theft crimes come in many different forms and can be very serious. Remember that the best thing you can do to protect yourself is to talk to the competent and experienced criminal defense lawyers Rockville, MD trusts who specializes in criminal defense. “Stealing” may not sounds that serious, but being convicted of a theft crime can result in everything from fines to significant jail time.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at The Law Office of Daniel J. Wright for their insight into criminal defense and theft.