When it comes to the crime of theft, many people don't understand the consequences.
Just the same as all other crimes, there are many factors that impact the potential penalty and sentencing.
Above all else is the value of the property and the type. These are the details that determine whether a felony or misdemeanor crime is brought against the person.
In the event of the theft of low value property, often $1,000 or less, the person is typically charged with a misdemeanor. This can result in a short jail sentence as well as a fine.
If more valuable property is stolen, the individual could face a felony theft charge. This is extremely serious, as the punishment can include everything from jail time to fines and restitution.
Note: There are categories of theft that pertain to a particular item, such as grand theft auto.
Another factor that plays into the penalty is the offender's criminal record. If you've never been arrested for theft and are charged with a misdemeanor, the penalty may not be severe. Conversely, repeat offenders, especially those who have been convicted of a felony in the past, may not receive much leniency.
Theft is one of the most common crimes throughout the country. For this reason, police continue to crack down when possible.
Since there can be some gray area associated with theft, such as whether or not a person actually committed the crime, it's important to understand your legal rights as well as the criminal defense strategy that can help you avoid the most serious penalty.
Source: FindLaw, "Theft Penalties and Sentencing," accessed Nov. 10, 2016