Due to these practices, anyone charged with theft must be aware of their legal rights and their options for a quality defense. Speaking to a criminal defense lawyer may be the ideal way to access important information while also having someone who can stand by your side and advocate for you in court.
What Is the Difference Between Misdemeanor and Felony Theft?
In general, misdemeanor and felony crimes typically differ in severity of crime and penalties. Misdemeanor crimes are less severe than felonies and are often nonviolent. Felony crimes are usually far more severe, may involve violence, and carry serious long-term penalties. Theft must meet certain conditions to be classified as a felony.
What Is Misdemeanor Theft?
Defendants charged with misdemeanor theft are accused of stealing property worth $1,000 or less. This theft is a Class 1 Misdemeanor and has a maximum jail sentence of 120 days and up to $1,000 in fines. Though misdemeanors are minor offenses, it still may be beneficial to get legal help from a criminal defense lawyer. They may be able to defend your case well enough to have your charges reduced and may help you avoid serving any jail time.
What Is Felony Theft?
Defendants charged with felony theft are accused of stealing goods worth more than $1,000. Theft at this level is a Class H felony that carries a maximum prison sentence of eight months for first-time offenders. Receiving or possessing stolen goods worth more than $1,000 with the knowledge or reasonable grounds to suspect they are stolen is also a Class H felony.
A Misdemeanor theft charge can be elevated to a felony if the goods are taken from a person, if the theft involved breaking and entering, or if a firearm was stolen. Theft of any explosive or incendiary device or substance, such as a grenade or bomb, is classified as a felony, regardless of the value of the goods in question. Fireworks and any form, type, or quantity of gasoline are not included in this definition.
Because these crimes are much more severe, you should contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to secure a favorable outcome for your case.
Defenses to Grand Theft of Goods Worth More Than $1,000
Like with other criminal cases, an experienced lawyer can evaluate the details of the case to look for any information they could use to the defendant’s advantage. If your attorney decides that it would benefit you to take your case to court, they have likely found something that they can use to argue on your behalf and weaken the prosecution’s evidence against you.
Common defenses for defendants facing grand theft charges include:
- The defendant believed they owned the goods.
- The defendant believed they had a right to the goods.
- The defendant had consent from the property owner to take the goods.
- The defendant only intended to have the goods for a temporary period.
- The defendant took the goods while under duress.
- The defendant took the goods due to entrapment.
Notably, grand theft is charged per transaction. If you are being charged with the theft of multiple items stolen at one time, this theft is considered one count. While these defense strategies could get some of your charges reduced or dropped altogether, it’s essential to be aware that they may not work for every one of your charges if you have multiple charges.
Get Legal Advice From the Reliable Lawyers at King Law
As the defendant, you likely want to have your case resolved as quickly as possible so they can move forward with their lives. To accomplish this, you will need professional help from a law firm with years of experience handling these types of criminal cases. Before you make any significant decisions regarding your case, seek legal advice from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
At King Law, our firm is staffed by legal professionals who are knowledgeable and experienced in multiple areas of criminal law. Our years of experience have proven to be an asset to numerous criminal cases, and we are invested in working hard to do what we can to serve our clients well. Contact our firm by filling out our online contact form or calling (888) 748-KING for trustworthy legal advice.