Theft: General Description

The term theft is used broadly to refer to crimes related to the theft of property from a person without their permission. However, the theft has a legal meaning very broad, which may cover more than one category, and multiple degrees, of crimes. Theft is often defined as the removal of unauthorized property of another person with the intent to deprive him permanently of them. Within this definition lie two key elements:

What is the theft?

  1. take the property of another person; and
  2. the necessary intent to deprive the victim of his property permanently.

The element of subtraction in a theft typically requires you to take ownership of a well that belongs to another and also involves removing or attempting to remove the well. However, it is the element of intention which often arises the most complex legal challenges in cases related to the theft.

For example, Alex goes to the computer store, Patrick, save two units of flash memory in your pocket and walk out the door with the intention to keep it. Alex can be accused of theft. If Alex had stolen the car of Patrick of the parking lot, Alex would likely be charged with theft qualified.

How is theft different from robbery?

While some states have merged the law of theft the law of theft, general, other states have kept larceny as a separate offense. Theft is a crime that is developed through the common law and encompasses behavior that most people consider ordinary theft: the theft of the property of another person without permission. The states that still retain the figure of the theft have generally codified the definition of the common law in the penal code of the state.

The majority of states that still recognize the crime of larceny have codified its elements into their penal code. The exact definition of theft differs between states, and the majority of them incorporates the following elements in some form. The theft
is:

  1. the removal of illicit
  2. property of another person
  3. without the consent of the owner and with
  4. the intent to deprive the owner of the property permanently

The element of subtraction in a theft typically requires you to take ownership of a well that belongs to another and also involves removing or attempting to remove the well. However, it is the element of intention which often arises the most complex legal challenges in cases related to the theft. To verify a theft, often it must be shown that the defendant acted with the specific intent of taking the property of another person and keep it or convert it. Some of the defenses most common in theft cases, reflect this challenge, since the defendants may assert that they thought that some good was for them or only what they were borrowing.

Types and degrees of theft

Other key questions in theft cases are: 1) what type of goods stolen, and 2) how much it was worth the good in reality. This determines the category or the degree of burglary charges that a defendant could face. Many jurisdictions create degrees of theft crimes. For example, a theft of the third degree could be a misdemeanor that involves a well with a relatively low value in the market. On the other hand, a robbery of the first degree could be classified as a felony with stolen property with a value above a limit set by the law. As an alternative, some states categorize your theft (or related crime) as a “minor” or “qualified”.

Petty theft

The minor thefts or “petit” typically occur when someone steals a good with a value below the one specified by the law. The amount by which a theft is classified as a “minor” varies by jurisdiction, but a couple of examples would be goods with a value of less than $500, or $1,000. The minor thefts are usually classified as offenses relatively minor, also known as misdemeanors.

Theft qualified

The theft is qualified, in contrast, occurs when the good stolen is worth more that the limit of the minor thefts. Typically used the market value of the property at the time that it is stolen to determine their value for the purposes of minor charges or theft. The theft qualified or violations comparable, such as theft qualified, are classified as felonies in all states. This is the most serious category of offenses and can have severe consequences for those convicted of such crimes.

Additional categories of theft

Jurisdictions can create classes or categories of theft to address a particularly problematic theft. Probably, the best known example is the “theft qualified as a car”. Usually, these types of theft more closely categorized receive harshest punishments against comparable standard.

  • Defenses to charges for theft
  • Definition of theft/larceny
  • State laws against larceny and theft (section State Laws FindLaw)