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What are the elements of theft?

On Behalf of | Jan 24, 2020 | Theft |

We often want what we don’t have, but taking what does not belong to you is considered a crime. Being accused of theft is a serious situation because the consequences that could befall a defendant can be severe and life impacting. While theft crimes can range greatly from minor misdemeanor charges to severe felony counts, asserting a defense is important no matter the type of charge. Thus, the accused should be aware of the charges against them so a strong defense could be initiated.

What are the elements of theft? There are two elements of this crime. The first is the unauthorized taking of someone else’s property. The second is the intent to deprive that person of their property permanently. Thus, one must have the requisite intent to permanently deprive one of their property while removing or attempting to remove the property from the victim.

The elements of theft could be different than larceny. However, some states have merged these two offenses. There are four elements to larceny, which include the unlawful taking and carrying away of someone else’s property without the owner’s consent and with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of their property.

Theft could be categorized as being petty or grand. Petty theft charges can vary on the jurisdiction; however, it typically includes property that is worth less than $500 or $1,000. For grand theft charges, this amount is above the limit for petty theft. The value of the property in question is based on the market value of the property at the time it was stolen.

Because there are different types and degrees of thefts, it is important that those accused of any theft crime take the time to fully understand the charges against them. By evaluating the evidence used against the defendant, it is possible to assert an aggressive defense that could call into question the validity of this evidence, helping the accused suppress evidence and ultimately reduce or dismiss the charges against them.


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