What are Theft Offenses?
Theft crimes involve those offenses which relate to the stealing of the property of another. Stealing refers to the taking of another’s property with the intent to permanently deprive that person of the property. Theft may be committed in a variety of forms, hence the various offenses that prohibit and punish theft-related conduct. For instance, theft may be committed in its most obvious form – stealing a physical object from another. This may happen by taking something from another without permission with the intent to keep it or taking an item from a store without rendering payment, most commonly known as shoplifting. These forms of theft occur where the offender takes possession of the object from the alleged victim or rightful owner of the property.
Forms of Theft
The taking of the property involving a theft offense may be consummated in various ways. For instance, the property may be taken secretly or in a manner meant to hide the taking, such as with shoplifting.
The property may also be taken by force or threat of force. This more violent taking falls into the classification of robbery.
The taking element of a theft offense may also be committed when the offender misrepresents some fact or set of facts in order to convince the property owner to relinquish physical possession of the property. This inducement via false or misleading facts is how one commits the theft offense of fraud.
Lastly, taking may be conducted by someone already in lawful possession of the property with the consent of the owner. This is usually under an agreement that the person possesses the property for a specified purpose and time period. This type of theft offense, known as Embezzlement, occurs, where the person fails to return the property as directed and instead keeps it for oneself or converts the property for his or her permanent use.
Severity of Theft Offenses
The severity of a theft offense varies with the facts and circumstances of the offenses. For instance, the property in a theft offense may be essentially any form of personal or real property, meaning land or real estate. The value of the stolen property plays a direct role in the severity of the charged offense.
Convicted offenders may be required to pay restitution for the value of the stolen property providing that such cannot be returned, recovered or otherwise replaced. Similarly, the facts and circumstances surrounding the taking of the property are also indicative of the severity of the offense. Secretly shoplifting from a store is certainly less severe than robbing a bank at gunpoint.
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If you have been charged with a theft offense and need representation, contact the RI defense attorneys at the Law Office of John L. Calcagni III by email or call today at (401) 351-5100 to schedule a free consultation.