Will I Go to Jail for First Offense Petty Theft?

Theft Charges are in Store for Pick-Pocketer

What are the Different Types of Theft Charges?

Believe it or not, there are many different types of theft charges. These charges range in seriousness and circumstance. Robbery is a theft that involves the use of violence, intimidation, or threats to obtain property. Armed robbery involves the use of a gun, knife or another weapon to obtain property. Embezzlement is known as white-collar crime and is the theft of assets (money or property) by a person who has been entrusted with those assets. Fraud is stealing that involves convincing the victim to surrender their money or property under false pretenses. Shoplifting involves stealing goods from a retail establishment.

How Much is a Theft Charge?

The penalties and sentences for theft vacillate from minor to severe. Inevitably, a number of different factors come into play. Where was the crime committed? Depending on the state where the crime was committed, the punishment will vary. The more severe the crime, the more severe punishment, and associated penalties.

Do First Time Offenders Go to Jail?

As previously stipulated, depending on the severity of the infraction, the defendant may or may not go to jail. If it is the first offense, the punishment may be as lax as a diversion program, probation, or community service. Since petty theft is, at the very least, a misdemeanor, it can be a fine and up to one year in jail may be levied.

What Happens When You Get Charged with Theft?

When the defendant is charged with theft, the seriousness of the offense will impact whether or not fines and jail time will be levied. At a level of five theft, or if the stolen property is valued at over one-hundred thousand dollars, the defendant can safely assume that they are going to jail.

Can Petty Theft Charges Be Dropped?

In order to get petty theft charges dropped, it’s important to consult a criminal defense attorney. He or she will be able to inform you about your chances of getting a petty theft charge dropped, or expunged from the record. If, for instance, the theft was accidental, such as placing the sunglasses in a pocket instead of a shopping cart, your attorney may be able to safely argue on your behalf. Once again, the severity of the crime and the evidence of intention will either be for your benefit or to your disadvantage.

Theft Charges for Shoplifting

Theft charges are no laughing matter. Petty theft, and by extension, the crime of shoplifting, are considered misdemeanors. Misdemeanors are crimes but are not as serious as felonies. This means that if a defendant is convicted, they face the possibility of jail time. Jail is not the same as a state prison, which is reserved for more serious criminals. Convicted defendants may also face a fine of up to one or two thousand dollars.

Theft Charges by Amount

Depending on the severity of the amount taken, the theft charges vary. The three main categories of theft include petty theft, grand theft, and grand felony theft. Petty theft is executed in cases where the property of relatively low value is stolen. The specific dollar figure ranges from state to state, but the upper end is $500 to $1,000. Grand Theft is the next tier. Grand Theft exceeds the dollar amount of petty theft. Grand Felony Theft is based upon the determination that the threshold dollar amount has been met or exceeded. Once again, the variances depend on the state where the crime was committed. Grand Felony Theft means that the defendant is being charged with a felony, wherein the other two categories the defendant can be charged with a misdemeanor.

Theft Charges and Employment

A retail theft conviction does not necessarily mean that an employer won’t hire you. However, the relationship between yourself and your employer needs to be established on a basis of trust. Displaying that such infractions are behind you and that you have learned from them will help you go far in terms of becoming employed once again.

Theft vs Larceny

There are some significant differences between theft and larceny. Please consult the following bullet points about how larceny is defined to learn more. Larceny involves four elements:

  1. An unlawful taking and carrying away.
  2. The property belongs to someone else.
  3. The property was taken without the other person’s consent.
  4. Larceny is an attempt to lastingly deprive the owner of their property.

In addition to these four distinctions, larceny crimes are usually filed according to the fair market value of the personal property that has been stolen. If the value is small, the crime is titled ‘petty larceny.’ If the value is large, the crime is titled ‘grand larceny.’

If you have theft charges in Clearwater, FL, call James Brennan Bail Bonds at 727-531-5000 to speak with our staff about making an appointment today!