Theft or larceny is a common crime that occurs when someone takes away someone else’s property without permission and with the intent to permanently deprive a person of the property. However, theft can also be categorized as grand theft which is a more serious offense.
Laws in some states call theft as grand theft when the property that was taken is worth more than a minimum amount set for theft like $500 to $1,000 or more, when the property of a person is taken directly through force or fear or the property is of a particular type like cars.
Keeping a lost property may qualify as theft if the finder has reasonable opportunity to return the property to its owner. For example, John keeps a $100 bill that he found while bicycling on a deserted lane. The incident is not considered as theft. However, if John sees Charles inadvertently dropping a $100 bill as he was getting out of his car, picks it up and keeps it, he is committing theft. John knows that the $100 bill belongs to Charles and he has reasonable opportunity to return the money to the owner but did not do so.
Buying or keeping property knowing that it is stolen is a crime called receiving stolen goods. In order to convict a defendant for receiving stolen goods, the government must prove that the property in the defendant’s possession has been stolen. The government’s case usually relies on circumstantial evidence or evidence that would have alerted a reasonable person that the items are stolen.
Some states classify shoplifting as merchandise theft. A person can be charged with shoplifting if he takes goods from a store without paying for them, without the consent and knowledge of the merchant and with the intention of permanently depriving the merchant of the merchandise.
There are many kinds of theft crimes. If you are charged with theft whether it is shoplifting or grand theft, your best option is to call Donich Law for legal representation. A criminal defence lawyer knows the theft laws of the state. He has experience with cases that are similar to yours and can explain properly the relevant laws and procedures.