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While the simple answer to the question in the title is, “yes, theft is considered a crime,” there is more involved. When you are charged with theft, it generally goes with the term “larceny.” Larceny is any time you take property that belongs to someone else.
Different Levels of Larceny
There are two types of theft in most states, and they come with different consequences. Petty theft is the lesser charge, and a reputable defense lawyer may be able to work a plea agreement that prevents jail time. However, the more serious offense is grand theft. This is often a felony and comes with strict punishments. Grand theft must involve items of large value and/or some sort of force. This type of crime would include carjacking (armed or not), armed burglaries, or theft of pets.
Different Types of Larceny
Several types of theft can be classified as either petty or grand theft. This is when hiring a criminal defense lawyer is vital, because they will know how to handle each type and each degree charge. Most people know of home invasion, carjacking, and bank robberies. However, the following are also criminal actions that qualify as theft.
Shoplifting is a crime where merchandise is taken from a retail store without purchasing. Simply hiding merchandise with the intent to remove it from the store without purchasing can be classified as shoplifting. However, some states have a lesser crime of “willful concealment” that may be charged if the merchandise is discovered before it leaves the property.
Finding Lost Property
If you have found lost property (such as a wallet or cash), you may face larceny charges. The charges will depend on how you handle the situation. With a property that has been abandoned and you discover it, you must take measures to find the rightful owner. This includes turning in purses, wallets, bicycles, or anything else found to law enforcement for identification. In addition, if you see someone drop money and you do not take measures to return it to the right person before taking it, you have committed theft. This type of larceny is considered a crime because you knew it did not belong to you, and you did nothing to attempt to find the rightful owner.
Possession of Stolen Property
Owning stolen property is a crime, but it is one that can be fought with a reputable attorney. The prosecution must be able to prove that you knew that it was stolen when you acquired it. In addition, if you bought the property knowing it was stolen, you can be considered an accessory to the burglary. This can be a serious offense if there was an injury sustained during the robbery because then you are a part of that case.
The types of larcenies mentioned above are simply the most common. There are several other kinds not mentioned. Therefore, if you are facing any classification of theft charges, you will want to contact a Miami theft attorney. Their experience and support will make sure the punishment fits the crime, and make sure your side of the story is heard.