When someone has accused you of theft, it is a serious charge and you may be looking at jail time, probation, or other punishments if a judge convicts you. What if you are charged with grand theft, though? A good criminal defense lawyer knows that grand theft charges should not be taken lightly and depending on the circumstances surrounding your charges, you may be looking at a misdemeanor or a felony. A good attorney will know that with so many different types of theft, it can be confusing when someone accuses you. Rest assured, a criminal defense lawyer will help explain what you are being charged with so that they can work to find the right defense. Grand theft can come with severe punishments, so read below for more information.
What is the difference between theft, petty theft, and grand theft?
When someone accuses you of theft it means that you set out to intentionally take their property and were not planning to give it back to them, thus permanently depriving them of something that is theirs. Theft can be many different crimes and is not necessarily someone taking your wallet. It can also come in the form of using someone else’s property without the owners’ authorization, embezzlement, and even extortion. Petty theft and grand theft are usually determined based on the value of the items that were stolen.
What was the value?
If someone accuses you of grand theft, it usually means that the property you stole from someone was over a certain dollar amount. While the definition is not the same in every state, petty theft usually means that what you are accused of stealing is less than $500, while grand theft means you were accused of stealing something worth $500 or more. Thus, it is possible to be accused of petty theft if you allegedly stole something worth $499.
What kind of property was stolen?
Grand theft can also be determined by the type of property that was allegedly stolen. For example, even if the item was less than $500, certain things like animals, firearms, and even cars would be considered grand theft.
What kind of penalties are there for grand theft?
Grand theft comes with severe penalties if you are convicted.
- Fines: Fines are common forms of punishment for grand theft and you may find that you owe a lot of money. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, you may have fines that total to less than $1,000. However, if you are convicted of a felony, fines can hover around the $100,000 mark.
- Jail or prison: Again, being charged with a misdemeanor will result in different punishments than a felony. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you may have a maximum of a year in jail. However, if a judge convicts you of grand theft, you may have significantly longer time in jail or even face years in prison. The amount of time you spend in jail or prison can be worse if you have multiple offenses as well.
For more information, if you have been charged with grand theft, please contact a criminal defense attorney, like a criminal defense attorney in San Francisco, CA.
Thanks to The Morales Law Firm for their insight into what grand theft is and what the consequences of being convicted could be.