What Are Theft Crimes?

Interviewer: What are the major types of thefts, starting from the most mild to the worst, the lowest level offense, to the highest?

Ladan Law: Theft is a pretty big area. It covers many kinds of different crimes. Basically, the most minimal theft we see is the standard shoplifting, or petty theft. The petty theft statute comprises a variety of different degrees, depending on the value of the merchandise that’s taken. The smallest level crime that we see is a second-degree misdemeanor, which is any crime for taking an item less than $100.

Stolen Items With a Value of Over $100 Are a Higher Level Offense

Interviewer: Anything over $100 is a higher level of crime?

Ladan Law: Yes. That’s correct. Anything stolen with a value over $100 you’re going to be looking at a first-degree misdemeanor and once you reach $300.00, then it begins increasing in severity in the felony ranks.

So, it starts off as a third-degree felony and can move up to a second-degree felony between $5,000 and $10,000 and if it’s over $10,000, it can be a first-degree felony. You can move up in the ranks pretty quickly.

First Offenses May Be Treated Leniently

Interviewer: Yes. It sounds like the bar is set very, very low, for the initial offenses.

Ladan Law: Right. The beginning offenses usually have a pretty defined beginning point, for the prosecutor’s office. If you’ve never been charged with a crime before, it’s likely that they will offer you some kind of diversionary program, for first-time offenders.

That’s usually beneficial. For example, a first-time tourist from out-of-state or out of the country comes for a visit, and they help themselves to something from one of the theme parks. We can usually resolve the case for somebody through a diversionary program or written plea, so they don’t actually have to return to the state where they were charged.

Author: Amir Ladan
A former assistant state attorney for Orange/Osceola Counties, Amir has handled thousands of cases and dozens of trials, ranging from DUI and traffic offenses to murder, in both adult and juvenile court.

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