Theft is a type of property crime where a person takes someone else’s property with plans to permanently keep it. Depending on the quantity of property stolen, a person may face charges of petty or grand theft. For example, petty theft may be stealing a candy bar, while grand theft may be stealing a car.
Generally, theft involves a person moving property to a different location. However, if one takes another person’s property and hides it without plans to return the item, prosecutors may still pursue it as theft.
Cases of theft
If someone comes to possess an item through questionable means, he or she faces theft charges.
Potential cases of theft:
- A person takes, transfers or conceals property she or he does not own
- A person borrows an item and refuses to return it to its owner
- A person gains someone else’s property through deception
Penalties for theft
The penalties for petty theft are significantly lower than for grant theft. Petty theft is a misdemeanor. These crimes are for property worth less than $2,500. The repercussions may include up to nine months in prison and $10,000 in fines.
Any theft worth more than $2,500 is a felony. However, the amount of property stolen still impacts how much time a person may serve behind bars. For property worth $2,500 to $10,000, one may face a prison sentence of three years to six years and a fine of $10,000.
If the theft exceeds $10,000, one may face a 10-year prison sentence and a $25,000 fine. The responsible party may also need to pay additional costs for the value of the stolen property, or any damages sustained.
Defense for theft
A key aspect of this property crime is that the defendant planned to keep another person’s property. Prosecutors need to prove that that was the motive. However, people who thought they had permission to borrow an item may be wrongfully prosecuted.