Being charged with theft is a serious issue and demands immediate action. Beyond the criminal penalties like imprisonment and fines, a theft conviction could permanently prevent you from receiving professional or business licenses, impact your educational opportunities, and affect your immigration status.
Contact a Hays theft lawyer immediately if you are arrested and face a theft charge. A local criminal attorney could review the evidence, hear your side of the story, and defend you vigorously. While dismissal or exoneration at trial might not always be feasible, a skilled legal team could minimize long-term repercussions on your life.
Explanation of Specific Theft Crimes
The term “theft” encompasses many crimes. Exerting control over another person’s property or rights constitutes a theft crime. Theft is considered a non-person crime, meaning it does not involve harming others. If a theft also involves a threat of physical harm, the accusation of a more severe felony robbery charge could apply.
Shoplifting, carjacking, and keeping lost property are all examples of thefts. Theft could also occur electronically, through credit card fraud, or identity theft. Using counterfeit money, stealing services like cable television or electricity, or embezzling funds from a business or organization are all theft crimes.
A Hays theft attorney at Addair Law is familiar with the laws regarding all aspects of theft crimes. Skilled attorneys could prepare a robust defense regardless of the specific charge the prosecutor brings.
Determining the Severity of a Theft Crime
Theft is a catchall term used to describe many crimes. Any crime that involves exerting control over property belonging to someone else is theft. The value of the property or services allegedly stolen, the circumstances of the alleged theft, and the accused’s criminal record determine a theft charge’s severity.
Prosecutors could charge theft as a misdemeanor or felony. According to Kansas Statute § 21-5801, property theft valued at less than $1,500 is a Class A, non-person misdemeanor unless the accused:
- Allegedly engaged in a connected scheme by taking merchandise or mail from three or more establishments over 72 hours
- Has two or more theft convictions within the preceding five years
- Allegedly stole a firearm
In any of the above circumstances, an accused could face a felony charge even if the property’s value is less than $1,500.
One year in jail is the maximum sentence for a misdemeanor theft conviction. Someone convicted of a level 9, non-person felony theft charge, such as knowingly receiving stolen property between $1,500 and $25,000, could face up to 34 months in prison and a $100,000 fine. Consulting A Hays theft defense attorney could shed light on the potential consequences of a specific theft charge.
Defending Theft Claims
A lawyer tailors a defense to the circumstances and the evidence the prosecutor presents. However, the conduct of law enforcement officers and investigators can also provide grounds for defense in any criminal case. Instances where electronic investigation techniques were employed without proper warrants or procedures, were not followed correctly could lead to the suppression of evidence and the dismissal of the charge.
Other defense strategies are contingent on the specific crime a prosecutor charges. Each crime comprises specific elements that the prosecutor must prove for a conviction. A Hays theft attorney could scrutinize the prosecutor’s evidence for each element and exploit weaknesses by offering additional evidence or alternative explanations.
Theft charges the severity of theft charges escalates as the property or services’ value increases. Prosecutors or alleged victims might overstate the property’s value. Challenging these assertions could result in securing a lesser charge.
Work with a Hays Attorney to Defend a Theft Charge
A theft conviction could have life-long consequences and remain on your permanent record. You will need a seasoned defense attorney to fight for you when you want to resolve the charges. A Hays theft lawyer could offer a vigorous defense to a theft charge. Call today to speak with an experienced advocate at Addair Law.