An accusation of theft or other property crime is a serious allegation that can lead to a misdemeanor or felony charge. If convicted, a person may be labeled a thief, and the ramifications of a criminal record can lead to distrust, damage to one’s personal reputation, and difficulty in finding employment.
Finding a qualified property crime defense attorney can allow you the opportunity to successfully defend against the criminal charge and find the best possible outcome, whether that means obtaining a dismissal, litigating for acquittal, or negotiating a plea to secure the most favorable outcome given the circumstances of your case.
There are several ways to classify crimes: felony or misdemeanor, for example, or violent or nonviolent offenses. Another way to distinguish between criminal offenses is to designate them as crimes against the person—often violent crimes—or crimes against property.
Property crimes typically involve theft, but there are a number of other acts which may be considered property crimes:
While robbery includes the theft of property, it is not considered a property crime. Because the theft is perpetrated by force or fear, it is considered violent crime. In fact, in designating the Index Crimes for state-by-state statistical analysis, the FBI classifies robbery as a violent crime along with aggravated assault, rape, and murder.
In 2013, the OSBI’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR) compiled as part of the FBI’s crime reporting program indicated that, although property crimes decreased nearly 3 percent from the previous year, these nonviolent crimes are the most common criminal offenses in the state. In fact, larceny—both petit larceny and grand larceny—was the largest crime category on the 2013 UCR, with more than 81,000 offenses.
If you are arrested for theft or other property crime, the penalties you may face vary widely depending on the offense of which you are accused and certain elements of that offense.
Petit larceny, for example, is the theft of money or property valued at $500 or less. It is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of 6 months in prison. Grand larceny, on the other hand, in which the value exceeds $500, is a felony punishable by a maximum of 5 years in prison. However, there are elements of grand larceny that can enhance the penalty beyond 5 years.
First degree burglary, in which someone breaks into an occupied dwelling with the intent to commit a crime, is punishable by 7 to 20 years in prison.
If you are arrested for a property crime, it is vital that you get legal counsel immediately. Your attorney can not only help explain the charges and potential penalties you face, but can also help you avoid saying anything that might incriminate you or otherwise jeopardize your case.
Maybe a person picked up a lost wallet and took the cash inside before trying to find the owner. Maybe an arrest came after someone impulsively plucked a small item off the store shelf and slipped it into his or her pocket. Maybe the “shoplifting” wasn’t impulse at all, but rather an absent-minded act of someone who fully intended to pay for the item.
None of the above cases seem that serious, but if you are arrested and charged with a misdemeanor, conviction can have a much more significant impact than you might imagine.
A person convicted of a misdemeanor property crime may spend time in jail. He or she may have to pay heavy fines and serve restrictive probation. After all is said and done, a person convicted of a misdemeanor is left with a criminal record that will show up in background checks by potential employers, school officials, and even nosy neighbors.
Finding legal defense representation as soon as possible after your arrest can help you avoid these unnecessary and often embarrassing consequences.
Every case is unique, and at Coventon Criminal Defense, we do not believe in a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, we thoroughly evaluate every aspect of your case to determine the defense strategy that maximizes your potential for success.
Strategies may include refuting the evidence the district attorney attempts to use against you, challenging admissibility of prosecutorial evidence, rebutting witness testimony or eyewitness identification, negotiating a plea in exchange for a lesser charge or minimal sentencing, and more.
To learn more about how we can help or to discuss your particular case, submit our online case review form or call (405) 417-4832 to schedule a free consultation.