Theft charges and other criminal charges can potentially destroy the lives of the accused. For that reason, every person accused of a crime needs to be familiar with their criminal defense rights and know how they can protect themselves when charged with a crime.
Understanding theft charges
In general, theft charges allege the accused individual took the property of another without their permission and with the intent to permanently deprive them of that property. Theft crimes, sometimes called larceny crimes, are generally punishable with jail time and fines. If the property the accused individual is alleged to have stolen is firearm or trade secret, or any property valued over $250, the accused individual can face up to 5 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000. If the property allegedly stolen is valued at less than $250, the accused individual is possibly facing up to a year in jail and a fine up to $300.
The possible penalties for theft charges in Massachusetts can increase if the alleged victim is over the age or 65 or has a disability. In those circumstances, if the property allegedly stolen is valued at greater than $250, the accused individual faces up to ten years of incarceration and a fine up to $50,000. If the property allegedly stolen is valued at less than $250, the accused individual faces up to two and a half years of incarceration and a fine up to $1,000 in those circumstances.
While the penalties can be severe, it’s important to remember that everyone accused of theft or any other crime has rights under state and federal law. This includes protections under the U.S. Constitution.
If you are facing theft charges, you may be able to challenge any illegal actions of the authorities or the evidence being used against you. Other defense strategies may be available to you as well to potentially mitigate the possible penalties and consequences and the long-term damage a conviction can do to your life.