Theft is the instance where an individual takes money, assets, services, or other property with the intent of permanently depriving the owner of the property. Theft statutes usually refer to the value of the property taken by the defendant, with penalties escalating on this basis. Besides imposing jail, fines, and other punishment, courts in all jurisdictions will require those convicted of theft to make restitution by repaying victims for their losses.
Types of Theft
Offenses involving property valued at less than $1,000 or so are usually treated as misdemeanors. These crimes are commonly referred to as petty or petite larceny. Theft of more valuable property is referred to as grand larceny and treated as a felony. Besides the value of the property taken, theft crimes are categorized by the type of property taken and the method used by the perpetrator to acquire it.
Deferral Programs for First Offenders
Any sort of criminal conviction can severely impact the employability of the defendant in the future. In an effort to keep a record of the incident from appearing on their criminal histories, qualifying defendants in many jurisdictions can request to take part in a deferral program. Under such a program the defendant pleads guilty, but the court holds the plea pending successful completion of probation. As long as the defendant pays restitution, stays out of trouble, and satisfies all of the other conditions imposed by the judge, the case will be dismissed at the end of the probationary period. The plea is never entered, and no theft conviction will appear on the defendant’s record.