Misdemeanor theft is punishable by up to one year in jail and up to $5,000 in fines.
If a defendant is charged with a Class C felony, the crime is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
Note that if theft involves the taking of property worth more than $5,000, or the taking of property directly from a person, the crime becomes theft in the first degree, which is a Class B felony. This means that the person charged may face as much as 10 years in prison and $20,000 in fines.
DEFENSES FOR THEFT
Fortunately, a defendant can raise a legal defense to challenge a theft charge. One common defense is for an accused to show that he or she did not act with an intent to permanently deprive the “victim” of the property. Perhaps, for example, the defendant merely borrowed someone’s property with the intent to give it back.
A defendant can also raise a claim of right defense. This is where the accused shows that he or had an honest and reasonable belief that the property in question actually belonged to him or her. The defense applies even if this belief was incorrect.
People also get falsely accused of theft, which means a defendant can assert that he or she was unjustly blamed. Oftentimes, a business deal gone sour can lead to false accusations of theft. Further, an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend (or spouse) may falsely accuse a former partner out of revenge or jealousy.
Contact Black & Askerov for Help
If you or a loved one is facing a theft charge, our firm is here to help. Our theft attorneys have over 25 years of combined experience representing clients on theft charges. They are tireless in their efforts and fight for their clients every step of the way. Contact them now to get the representation that makes all the difference.