Being accused of stealing can bring troubling consequences. An arrest, a criminal charge, and the possibility of a conviction, a jail sentence, and a criminal record can complicate one’s current situation and future prospects. Fortunately, help is available from a larceny defense lawyer who can help you fight the charges against you.
At its simplest definition, theft is taking something that belongs to someone else. The acts which comprise theft crimes are broad, ranging from shoplifting and petty theft to white collar crimes like embezzlement and violent crimes like armed robbery.
There are specific statutes dealing with crimes like burglary, robbery, and embezzlement, so typically, when we refer to theft crimes, we are talking the offenses stipulated in the Oklahoma larceny laws.
Chapter 68 of the Oklahoma criminal code contains more than 30 laws dealing specifically with larceny and its various types. These acts include shoplifting, failing to pay at a gas pump, cattle rustling, auto theft, and more.
Larceny is defined in 21 O.S. § 1701 as “the taking of personal property accomplished by fraud or stealth, and with intent to deprive another thereof.”
The intent to deprive the rightful owner of possession of the property is an important part of this definition, as it means a person can be charged for finding a lost item if he or she does not attempt to return it to its owner. If you find a wallet with identification in it, or with some other means of identifying the true owner, but you keep it or its contents for yourself, you could be charged with larceny. “Finders keepers, losers weepers,” is not considered a valid defense.
In general, there are two classifications of larceny: grand larceny or petit larceny. You may also hear these degrees described as grand theft or petit/petty theft, but Oklahoma law uses the terms grand and petit larceny.
Whether a theft is charged as petit or grand larceny depends upon the value of the property and/or whether or not it was taken directly from the person of another. Theft of money or property valued at $500 or less is petit larceny, unless it was “taken from the person of another,” as in pickpocketing. In that case, it becomes grand larceny.
Theft of more than $500 or property with a value exceeding $500 is grand larceny.
In “Been Caught Stealing” by Jane’s Addiction, Perry Farrell sings, “When I want something and I don’t want to pay for it, I walk right through the door. . . . If I get by, it’s mine.” But what happens if you don’t get by? What happens if you have been caught stealing in Oklahoma?
The possible penalties for larceny in Oklahoma depend upon whether a person is charged with petit larceny or grand larceny and other factors of the case.
Petit larceny is a misdemeanor, and the potential penalties are much lighter than those associated with grand larceny. A conviction of petit larceny brings a maximum penalty of 6 months in county jail, and a fine ranging from $10 to $500.
Grand larceny, on the other hand, is a felony. Under most conditions, it brings a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. However, penalties are enhanced for specific types of grand larceny. Some examples of sentencing enhancement for types of larceny include the following:
If you or someone you love has been arrested for theft, contact us as soon as possible to discuss your case. We can help you understand the potential consequences of conviction in light of the unique details of your case, and we can begin exploring defense options to bring the case to its best possible resolution.
Regardless of whether you are facing a misdemeanor conviction with minimal jail time or you are looking at the possibility of a decade or more in prison, it is important that you find legal defense representation. A skillful theft lawyer may be able to help you avoid conviction altogether, and in cases where dismissal is not possible and acquittal is not likely, a defense attorney can negotiate for lower sentencing or sentencing options that may keep you out of jail.
Call Coventon Criminal Defense at (405) 417-3842 or submit our confidential online case review form to get started.