When you are arrested for theft, there are a lot of different penalties and sentences, depending on the severity of the crime. While some crimes are relatively minor, others are quite severe, with devastating consequences. Though you may hope that your charges get dropped, you may end up paying a fine or even spending some time in jail, depending on what you did.
Whether you have to pay a fine or spend time in jail depends on what you stole. Minor crimes, also called misdemeanors, are often items priced under five hundred to one thousand dollars. Those who are convicted of a misdemeanor usually have a less severe punishment. They may only have to pay a fine, though you may find yourself facing a few months (up to a year) in jail.
Larger crimes, where people steal bigger pieces of property, are labeled as grand theft, which is a felony. People with felonies often serve time in jail. Grand theft auto describes theft of an automobile which comes with their own forms of punishment.
Since we now live in a digital world, identity theft is becoming more popular. It is actually the fastest growing type of theft. When you steal someone’s identity, you get their personal information (including their social security number) in order to make your life better.
You may act like that person and get credit cards or even take out loans (which they will get stuck paying) so that you can get ahead without paying the bills. Many people buy things on credit, making someone else pay for it.
No matter what your crime (misdemeanor or felony), whether your punishment is more lenient or harsh often depends on your history. If this is your first charge, your lawyer will argue that you have learned your lesson. You often get away with smaller fines and less time in jail than those who have committed the same crime over and over. Repeat offenders rarely get any leniency, paying high fines and spending more time in jail.
Identity theft is different. Most states try to prosecute those to the highest extent of the law. You can really ruin someone’s credit and life and it deserves a harsh punishment, even if it is the first time that it has happened!
Whether you have been fined or gone to jail, if you are convicted of a theft you may have consequences that will haunt you throughout the rest of your life. Many people struggle to find a job after they have been convicted of a theft crime. Felonies are going to be listed on your background check, though your misdemeanors may also.
With a felony on your record, you are not going to be allowed to work around children and possibly even older people. You are not going to be trusted as much which can be hard if you have children and want to spend time at their school functions.
Immigrants may face even harsher punishments. Some end up being deported, even if they have lived in this country for years!
The best thing that you can do, if you are arrested for theft, is hire the right lawyer. A good lawyer will remain by your side, from the moment that you hire him or her, until you win your case. If you lose, he or she will work hard to get the least amount of punishment possible. You may even want to appeal your case and he or she will be able to help.
If you are in legal trouble, don’t hesitate to contact us. We offer a free initial consultation for those in trouble over theft.
Disclaimer: The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.