We often see theft being defined as larceny. It is a crime that happens when an individual took and carried away the property of someone else without permission. Also, the intent should be to deprive the owner. Various types of theft crimes exist. However, the very basic distinction happens when comparing grand theft with petty theft.
Petty Theft Versus Grand Theft
Stealing something can be considered as being grand theft due to several reasons. If this happens, we are talking about a much more serious offense. Although there are differences from one state to the next, in most cases, we are talking about grand theft in the following cases:
- What was stolen is worth over the state minimum amount, which is around $1,000.
- The property stolen was taken from an individual with other means except for fear or force. For instance, when from someone’s pocket.
- Some property types were taken. For instance, some animal thefts or car thefts can be considered grand theft without taking into account the actual market value.
When the theft is not grand theft, it is petty theft. It is also possible that we are talking about an intermediate offense (for instance, second degree theft). This can vary based on the state in which the crime happened. For instance, in Washington, thefts can be of first, second, and third degrees.
Shoplifting is a very common situation that is handled with the use of some special laws. It is also possible that the shoplifting crimes are prosecuted with a broader theft status. Regardless of the case, we are discussing taking goods from the store and not making a payment. Shoplifting can be defined as:
- Carrying away or taking possession of merchandise when it was for sale and you knowingly do so.
- Taking products from a store without the consent or the knowledge of the merchant.
- The intention of keeping the stolen merchandise or just permanently depriving a merchant of the merchandise.
- Walking away with the product but not paying for it.
Shoplifting might or might not include hiding merchandise. It is possible that the state does have a separate crime for this though.
Lost Property Thefts
You can be accused of theft even when you just keep the lost property. This is possible when you could have returned the property and still kept it. For instance, when you find $100 in the middle of the street and you keep it, this is not theft. When you see that someone dropped the bill, you might be accused of theft. This is because you are aware of who the money belongs to.
Theft can be a very serious charge. In the event that you are faced with it, we highly recommend that you contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as you can. The types of thefts presented above are just some of those that could be highlighted. Several options are available for your defense though. For more information, contact: