Many theft crimes committed in Mecklenburg County may be prosecuted as felonies even if the value of the property involved is low. If you are facing charges involving a theft crime, it is essential to understand the nature of the charges, your options for defense, and the potential consequences if convicted.
A consultation with an experienced Mecklenburg County theft lawyer would be a good place to start. Not only could a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney provide advice and guidance, but your attorney could serve as your advocate, fighting to protect your rights and working toward a positive outcome.
Theft crimes may be prosecuted under numerous state and federal laws. Many statutes define a specific theft crime and describe the penalties for violations.
The most basic theft crime in the state criminal code is larceny. Even this term is not defined in the state statutes, leaving the traditional common law definition in place. Essentially, larceny occurs when someone unlawfully takes property belonging to another person.
Traditionally, the person taking the property had to specifically intend to permanently deprive the owner of that property in order for the taking to be treated as a larceny. Although the intent to permanently deprive the owner of property may not always be a required element in larceny cases, a Mecklenburg County lawyer could argue a person accused of larceny should not be found guilty if the prosecution fails to prove an intent to permanently retain, destroy, or keep the property from the rightful owner.
Larceny is penalized differently depending on the circumstances. A theft may be treated as felony grand larceny under Va. Code 18.2-95 if the property taken is worth $500 or more, or if the property taken is a firearm. This does not surprise people.
However, people in Mecklenburg County are often surprised to learn that if someone commits larceny “from the person of another” and the value of the property involved is only $5, that taking will also be treated as grand larceny.
So, if someone steals a $400 silver watch from someone’s nightstand, the theft is misdemeanor petit larceny, but if that same person takes a $5 plastic watch from someone’s wrist, the theft becomes grand larceny.
Mecklenburg County attorneys understand that the circumstances surrounding a theft incident can make a huge difference in the classification of a crime and potential penalties.
Petit (pronounced “petty”) larceny is treated as a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. Those convicted of grand larceny could be sentenced to up to 20 years in a state correctional facility.
State statutes describe numerous additional theft crimes, some of which incorporate larceny or the penalties for larceny. Some crimes involve narrow circumstances while others are much broader.
Examples of theft crimes include:
Even the unauthorized use of milk crates is prohibited explicitly by Va. Code §18.2-102.2. As times and technologies change, lawmakers add more statutes to prohibit new practices. It can be challenging to keep up with all the laws, but experienced lawyers not only understand these laws but know how courts interpret them.
Every person accused of a crime is considered innocent until proven guilty. Very often, law enforcement personnel make mistakes collecting or preserving evidence to prove guilt, and then these mistakes may be exploited as part of the defensive strategy.
Regardless of your circumstances, if you are facing theft charges, it is wise to speak to a knowledgeable Mecklenburg County theft lawyer. An experienced legal advocate could help you minimize the negative consequences and work toward a positive result. For a free consultation, call now.
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