Also known as larceny, theft refers to the taking of another’s property without their permission. It could be something as insignificant as a microwave, or something as valuable as a Lexus. Theft can be non-violent and occur on public property, such as when someone takes a purse that has been left on a picnic table. On the other hand, theft can involve violence or force, and the unlawful entry into someone’s home. Each type of theft is punished differently, and can range from a misdemeanor to a felony.
Petty Theft / Grand Theft
Theft that does not involve violence or unlawful entry is classified as either petty theft or grand theft. Petty theft applies when the stolen property is worth no more than $250. It is a misdemeanor offense, and carries fines of up to $300 and a max of up to one year in jail. Grand theft occurs when the stolen property is worth more than $250. It is a felony offense with a potential sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. As with all crimes, the penalties are largely dependent on the circumstances of the offense and any prior criminal history. The type of property stolen is also taken into account. For example, stealing a firearm is considered grand theft, even if it’s worth less than $250. And if the stolen property is a motor vehicle, a conviction of grant theft auto could land you in prison for up to 15 years.
When a person breaks into the home of another person with the intent to steal something, it is considered burglary. Depending on the circumstances of the case, burglary can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. For example, if the burglary occurred in the middle of the night while the owner was inside sleeping, it is more likely to be charged as a felony than if it occurred during the day while nobody was home. Burglary penalties can range from probation to life in prison if it involved the use of weapons or force. A Boston criminal defense attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been charged with burglary.
Robbery is similar to basic theft because it involves the taking of another’s property without their permission, but it is different in that it involves violence. If you purposely assault someone with the intent to steal his/her property, it will likely be charged as a felony. This is true even if you were unsuccessful in your attempt. In fact, in MA, you don’t even need to use physical force to be charged with robbery; if the victim is intimidated and reasonably fears bodily harm, you could be charged with robbery. Robbing a convenience store with a gun is a good example.
Identity theft occurs when someone uses another person’s identifying information, such as a name and social security number, or bank account, to obtain credit or services, or to purchase things. Identity theft can be very damaging to the victim, resulting in large financial losses and even destroying their credit rating. In MA, a conviction of identity theft carries a penalty of up to two-and-a-half years in jail and a maximum fine of $5,000. A MA defense attorney can help you protect your rights if you’ve been charged with identity theft. Continue reading