Theft is considered a property crime. Put simply, theft is the act of someone knowingly taking property that belongs to another without the owner’s permission and with no intention of returning the stolen property at a later date.
There are many types of theft that a person can be accused of. Some of the more common include the following:
- Burglary: If a person breaks into a home or building belonging to someone else, without the owner’s permission, with the intent of taking property, they can be charged with burglary.
- Motor vehicle theft: Vehicle theft occurs when a person takes a car or other type of vehicle belonging to someone else without the owner’s permission.
- Petty theft: This is sometimes referred to as “misdemeanor theft.” Petty theft is theft when the value of the item or items stolen is less than $500.
- Receiving stolen property: A person can be charged with receipt of stolen property when they accept property that they know has been stolen.
- Robbery: When force or threat of force is used to take someone else’s property, it is considered robbery. Aggravated robbery is when a weapon is used as the force threat.
- Shoplifting: This is also referred to as “retail theft.” When a person takes an item of merchandise from a retail establishment without paying the full price for the item, and is fully aware they have done so, it is considered shoplifting.
Each property crime has elements that the prosecutor must prove in order for the defendant to be convicted. However, a skilled lawyer, like a criminal defense lawyer from the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright, may be able to build a strong defense against the charges, blocking the ability of the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime that he or she is charged with.
One of the common themes throughout each of these theft crimes is that the person who is accused of the crime must have “knowingly” committed the act. It must also be proven that the accused took the property and had no intent of ever returning the property to the owner.
It is not uncommon in these cases for the weakest part of the prosecutor’s case is to prove that knowledge and intent. Depending on how weak these elements are, the court may dismiss the case, the jury may convict, or there may be a plea agreement reached that is appropriate for the circumstances of the case.
Call a Lawyer Today
If you have been accused of a property crime, do not try to fight the charges on your own. A conviction could have a negative impact on your future, including your prospects for work, education, and even housing. Call a lawyer today to meet with a skilled defense attorney and find out how he or she can help protect your rights.