Petty theft and shoplifting are two criminal crimes that are sometimes confused. In truth, they have a lot in common: Each crime necessitates the taking of anything of a particular worth or less to retain it permanently. Shoplifting, on the other hand, is defined as the theft of shop items, and it might include actions beyond taking the object from the store.
What is Petty Theft?
Petty theft is defined as the unlawful taking of something worth less than a certain amount, such as $300 or $750. If the item’s worth exceeds the threshold, the crime is referred to as “grand” theft (or larceny). This sum is established at a different level by each state.
To convict a person of petty theft, the prosecution must persuade a jury or judge that the following facts are true beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The stolen object had a “possessory interest” in the victim of the crime. This indicates that although the victim didn’t own the object, he or she had the right to hold it. The victim is frequently both the owner and the possessor—but not always.
- Even if just a little, the property was “taken away.” Petit theft has generally required the object to be moved far from its location or position, even if only a little. Modern legislation frequently does away with the necessity that the defendant transport the thing, instead of requiring merely that he or she exert control over it.
- The victim was not willing to be taken. This part is usually evident, such as when a stranger cuts off another person’s bike lock and rides away with the bike. Taking anything through deception or deception, in addition to actual taking, meets this requirement. It’s also an ability to take when someone promises to return something but then keeps it.
- The defendant sought to deny the victim his right to the property indefinitely. The prosecutor must establish that the defendant did not intend to return the property at the time it was taken. It isn’t required to establish that the victim never received it; rather, the defendant’s state of mind at the time of the crime is crucial. Taking anything under conditions when it is extremely unlikely to be returned is also considered a taking.
Penalties for Petty Theft
Petty theft and shoplifting are also considered misdemeanors. Most offenses have a maximum sentence of one year in imprisonment (not state prison). Defendants in most states risk fines of several hundred dollars or perhaps a few thousand dollars. A defendant may also be ordered to pay restoration (compensation) to the victims for any property that is not recovered or destroyed.
First-time offenders may qualify for “diversion,” a court-supervised program in which the defendant conducts community service or receives counseling while being free of arrest for some time. Defendants who finish the program successfully will have their charges dropped.
When a person has a record for the same act, it’s known as a “petty with a prior,” and the penalties can be substantially worse. Repeat offenders may face felony charges rather than a misdemeanor in these circumstances.
Get an Attorney Today Petty Theft Law Firm Bismarck ND
An experienced criminal defense attorney Petty Theft Lawyers Bismarck ND can look into the facts and proof in your lawsuit and construct a defense to help you keep your freedom. Maybe you had zero intention of stealing the goods of the other person? Perhaps there was a miscommunication, or perhaps it was your property all along? Perhaps the other party in the case consented to the deal but afterward “changed their mind.”
A Petty Theft Lawyers Bismarck ND defense attorney can help you negotiate the complexities of the law and protect your freedom if you or someone you care about has been charged with grand theft or petty theft. Ward K Johnson Law Firm has an experienced team of petty theft lawyers Bismarck ND.