No matter what you may have been told, every theft charge is different. Before (or after) committing a theft, don’t count on the experience of friends or relatives as a “benchmark” for you to follow. Every case is different, and every case warrants the help and expertise of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
There are three factors that play a part in your theft charges (though it’s important to note that there may be even more factors that can affect your unique case). Consider them, and be sure to consult with us if you need legal help or representation in your theft case.
Before we examine the role the amount stolen plays in your case, it’s worth noting that every theft is a “serious one” in that it may have long term effects in your life. Stores or individuals will often want to press charges and pursue a case to make up for all of the thefts they didn’t catch in the past.
With that being said, the penalties and sentencing for theft do vary with the amount stolen. For example, stealing a relatively low-priced item (or low amount of money) is different from grand theft or even grand theft auto, which carries its own unique laws and penalties.
Manner of theft
Theft, burglary and robbery are sometimes used interchangeably—but they shouldn’t be. In fact, each term means something different in the eyes of the law, and should be treated as such when considering your own unique case.
Remember that theft is an umbrella term—it covers shoplifting, robbery, burglary, and other forms of taking one’s property without permission. How that property is taken determines what type of theft you’re dealing with. For example, for a theft to be deemed a “robbery” there must have been a forcible theft from a person present at the time of the crime. A burglary, on the other hand, doesn’t require that a victim be present but does require the unlawful entry into a person’s home, store or other facility to perform theft (or other felonies). By having a general idea of what your type of theft really was, you may be better able to understand the consequences and sentencing you’re likely to face (although this doesn’t serve as a substitute for legal representation.
One of the biggest factors in the sentencing of your theft case is your criminal history. Is this your first time in court for theft… or have you been here two or three times? As you may expect, a record of theft or other crimes may affect a judge’s decision in sentencing your case.
Even outside of these common factors, there are many things that can affect your theft case and sentencing. Don’t leave your legal outcome up to chance—instead, reach out to us. We are experienced in dealing with theft cases and can work with you and the court to achieve the best possible outcome for your specific situation.