The definition of “theft” refers to a group of crimes that involves depriving someone else of his or her property. It´s a broader term that applies to any offense that implies taking someone else´s property with the intention to deprive the person of its possession. An example could be when a person miswrites a check to pay something from a store, or when an employee embezzled money from a company. If you or someone you care about are struggling with these type of situations in Culver City CA, Angels Bail Bonds will help you go through them.
Here are the differences between misdemeanor and felony theft charges
A felony crime is always more serious than misdemeanor crime and is punished with more significant penalties. Usually, states define felonies based on the value of the property stolen or some other factors involved in the crime.
Factors that determine whether is a felony or misdemeanor charge
- Property value felonies: The stolen property´s value is sometimes what determines if the crime is a felony or misdemeanor. To be considered as a felony theft the value of the property must exceed a minimum amount established by the state law, typically between $500 and $1,000. For example, if the state law has a $700 theft felony theft limit, a person who steals a bicycle worth $500 has committed a misdemeanor. On the other hand, if a person takes a bicycle that costs $800, the crime will be categorized as a felony.
- Categorical felonies: In some cases, you can commit a felony theft even if the belongings you have stolen are less than the state´s felony minimum. Most of the states have laws which also categorize felonies based on the type of property stolen. If you steal a firearm, car or motorboat, will be considered a felony theft due to the property´s actual value.
- Felony degrees: Another thing that differentiates a misdemeanor from a felony theft is based on the state´s degree categorization. First degree it´s cataloged of being the least dangerous and fifth-degree as the most serious. A first-degree felony theft may apply when the property is between $1,000 and $5,000, while fifth-degree felony theft will apply to a crime where the value is over $100,000.
Penalties for theft charges
Penalties for a felony conviction can differ depending on the circumstances of the case.
- Fines: Felony theft convictions entail the possibility of significant fines. A single sentence can go as low as $1,000 or as high as $150,000.
- Prison: For first-time offenders that are convicted for the lowest severity level of felony theft, the potential prison sentence can be from several months to three years, it will also depend if the court chooses to impose jail time. For repeat offenders or those who committed more severe felony theft offenses, prison sentences can range from several years to 20 years’ imprisonment or more.
- Probation: When the court sentence you to probation, it requires you to comply a period, typically 12 months or more. Some o the probation terms include requirements such as meeting regularly with a probation officer, maintaining a job, paying for child support if needed and not breaking any more laws.
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