Theft allegations are among the most common cases in Bridgeport criminal courts. However, these accusations are still severe matters. Even a conviction for a low-level theft will create a criminal record or could force you to spend time in jail. It is essential to be proactive in protecting your rights after an arrest for allegations of theft.
A Bridgeport theft lawyer is here to provide the support you need. At Ruane Attorneys, our legal team is prepared to explain the state’s theft laws, explore how they relate to your specific case, discuss the possible penalties for conviction, and develop a defense to preserve your future. Speak with our attorneys today to get the guidance and support you need.
The Legal Definition of Theft
State law uses a single statute to deal with all allegations of theft or theft-related crimes. According to Connecticut General Statute § 53a-119, it is a violation to take the property of another without their permission. This statute also prohibits receiving stolen property, embezzling the property of another, stealing by fraud, and shoplifting.
By lumping all allegations of theft into a single statute, state law significantly simplifies what a prosecutor must prove in court to obtain a conviction. It also simplifies the penalties that may result from this conviction.
Penalties for Theft Charges
Most theft cases are misdemeanors. More specifically, cases involving items worth $500 or less will bring Class C misdemeanor charges. Convictions can result in a maximum of three months in jail, a fine of up to $500, or both.
However, if the goods allegedly involved are valued at $20,000 or more, the case could be a Class B felony with a possible 20-year sentence. A Bridgeport attorney could explain the potential penalties for a specific theft case and work to develop a tailored defense.
Defending Against Theft Allegations in Bridgeport
A prosecutor pursuing theft charges in Bridgeport must prove each element of the case beyond a reasonable doubt. This means different things depending upon the exact nature of the charges. However, a key concept in most theft cases is the idea of intent.
Intent in Larceny Cases
Any theft offense under state law must involve the intent to deprive the property’s owner of the use of that property. For example, a person should not be arrested for theft if there is a genuine dispute over the true ownership of the item in question. However, police may believe a person intends to shoplift and arrest them for hiding an item on their body while still within a store, even if they have not actually stolen anything. Every theft case is unique, making it essential to work with a local theft lawyer on a defense that best fits the unique circumstances.
Speak with a Bridgeport Theft Attorney Now
Every arrest is a serious matter, even if the charges involved seem minor. Even a misdemeanor theft case can create a criminal record upon conviction and lead to jail time. More serious examples are felonies that will forever change your life.
Talk with a Bridgeport theft lawyer to begin forming a defense against these allegations. Ruane Attorneys is ready to hear your side of the story, explain the relevant laws, and defend your rights in and out of court. Contact our firm today to schedule your appointment.