The majority of people learn early on in life that stealing is not only illegal but that it is also objectionable from a moral standpoint. Children are constantly reminded not to take items that belong to other people unless they have expressly been told that they are allowed to. As a result of this early training, most people have a basic grasp on what constitutes theft.
From a legal standpoint, however, there are different terms that are used to describe different types of theft. Even though these terms are frequently used in today’s society, it still can be a little bit confusing trying to determine exactly what types of theft fall under each category.
In the courts, shoplifting is one of the most frequent theft-related charges. In essence, this term is used to describe the act of stealing items from a retail store or vendor. This can include everything from taking something from a store at the mall to stealing something from a convenience store or gas station. In most cases, the punishment for this crime is determined by the value of the items that were stolen.
Another term that is used by the courts to describe a specific type of theft is robbery. Robberies include an element of violence – whether that is threatening someone with violence, trying to intimidate them, or using violence against them. These crimes can range from small thefts that involve a single individual all the way up to much larger thefts like bank robberies. Because this crime is associated with violence, it usually carries stiffer penalties than other types of theft.
Fraud, on the other hand, typically involves any type of theft where the perpetrator relies on deception to trick someone else or to obtain something illegally. For instance, forging a document, stealing someone’s identity, or participating in a bait and switch scheme are all examples of fraud. Embezzlement is a specific type of fraud that usually involves an employee stealing money or other assets that they were entrusted with from the business that they work for.
When you hear a theft referred to as a burglary, it usually means that the person was trespassing when the theft occurred. For instance, when someone breaks into a home, car, or place of business to steal something, that is generally considered a burglary.
The value of the items that were stolen can also determine how a theft is referred to from a legal standpoint. For instance, thefts involving low-value items may be categorized as “petty theft” whereas those involving more expensive items may be categorized as “grand theft”. Each state has its own rules regarding the value where these changes occur.
If you are charged with any of these theft-related crimes you will need legal representation in order to protect your rights and prevent a lengthy jail sentence. Call Naiburg, Obedin, and Weissman for a complete review of your case.