Guide To Theft Penalties And How Criminal Attorneys Can Help

Criminal Attorneys

Theft is a common crime that involves many unlawful activities. When dealing with theft crimes, it is essential to understand the various theft charge types and their associated consequences. Theft accusations, lengthy jail terms, and harsh penalties await those convicted of grand theft, petty theft, identity theft, and unauthorized taking of another person’s goods, cash, or personally identifying information. It’s essential to consult a criminal defense attorney acquainted with the specific theft laws in your jurisdiction to navigate the intricacies of stealing charges and defend your rights. 

In this guide, we will explore the types of theft charges, their penalties, and how criminal defense attorney can help.

Understanding Theft Charges

Petty Theft

The least severe type of theft is called petty theft or larceny. It usually involves the theft of less valuable goods or property, and penalties are typically less harsh. Petty theft is considered a misdemeanor in several places. Penalties for petty theft are:

  • Fines
  • Probation
  • Community service
  • Possible jail time (usually for more severe cases)

Petty theft differs from stealing severe offenses like grand larceny or armed robbery. It is classified as a misdemeanor shoplifting offense. The value of the stolen goods and the particular circumstances decide the classification, even though it includes taking property without permission.

Grand Theft

Grand theft usually entails the theft of more expensive goods or property, including pricey technology, cars, or priceless artwork. Grand larceny has far harsher penalties than petty theft. Penalties of grand theft are:

  • Heavier fines
  • Longer probation or parole
  • More significant jail or prison sentences
  • Felony conviction on your record


Stealing goods from a store is known as shoplifting. Depending on the jurisdiction and the value of the stolen goods, shoplifting penalties can change. Penalties for shoplifting:

  • Fines
  • Community service
  • Mandatory theft prevention classes
  • Possible jail time


Embezzlement happens when someone steals funds or property authorized to them, often in a workplace or organizational setting. Penalties for embezzlement are:

  • Fines
  • Rebate (repaying the victim)
  • Probation
  • Jail or prison time, especially for significant sums embezzled


Robbery is a severe theft offense in which the victim is forced to give over property or cash under threat of force. It is considered a potent offense. Penalties for robbery are: 

  • Significant fines
  • Lengthy prison sentences
  • Potentially a violent crime conviction on your record


Burglary is defined as entering a building or residence intending to steal something or perform another crime. Burglary has harsh consequences, mainly if the perpetrator is armed.

Penalties for burglary are:

  • Lengthy prison sentences
  • Possible felony conviction
  • Fines

What Is The Most Common Kind Of Theft?

One of the most common forms of identity theft nowadays is the illegal use of a person’s personal information for fraudulent purposes, which can lead to both financial loss and property theft. Identity theft is a common crime that involves deceit and the willing acquisition of property by false means. Because of its significance and ubiquity, laws have been formed to explicitly address theft charges linked to identity theft, sometimes compared to robbery or embezzlement.

Which Theft Charge Is The Least Serious?

A misdemeanor theft charge, including theft and fraud, is usually the least severe theft accusation. Compared to crimes usually classified as robbery or embezzlement, where the degree of deceit and severity are usually higher, this accusation is generally seen as less serious.

What Is The Maximum Theft Penalty?

The maximum punishment for theft varies based on the jurisdiction, the kind of goods taken, and the case’s particulars. However, it can have serious repercussions, such as the following:

  • significant fines
  • Extended confinement
  • Compensation

If there is proof that deception was used to commit the theft, the punishment is typically more severe.

Hire A Criminal Defence Attorney

The value of the stolen goods, your criminal history, the kind and severity of the offense, and the charges and penalties associated with theft can all have a substantial impact. It’s crucial to speak with a knowledgeable criminal lawyer who can advise you and defend your rights in court if you’re facing theft-related accusations. You can handle the legal system more skillfully and arrive at wise conclusions if you are aware of the particular laws that apply to your situation and investigate your options for defense. While it’s usually preferable to err on the side of caution, if you find yourself in a sticky situation, get expert counsel to safeguard your rights and future.

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Read Also: How Identity Theft Works and Why It Can Hurt You