Theft crimes range from simple misdemeanors like shoplifting to class B felonies, the state’s second-most serious category of crime. If you have been charged with a theft crime, you need legal representation to protect your future.
Whether the charge you face is a relatively minor misdemeanor or a serious felony, a New Haven theft lawyer could begin building a defense against the prosecution. At Ruane Attorneys, our legal team will work diligently to resolve the matter and mitigate the consequences you face.
Misdemeanor Theft Crimes
Theft involves taking something that belongs to someone else with the intention of keeping it or giving or selling it to someone else. The law refers to theft as larceny. Larceny could be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the property involved. Someone accused of stealing property or services worth less than $2,000 will face misdemeanor criminal charges, for which the maximum penalty is one year in jail and a $2,000 fine, plus restitution.
When the accused person can make restitution, prosecutors are often willing to decline to prosecute misdemeanor larceny charges or at least drop them to infractions that do not create a criminal record. A New Haven theft attorney could work with a prosecutor to reach an agreement that allows the accused person to resolve the matter without a criminal record.
Felony Larceny Charges
Theft crimes involving higher value property, vulnerable victims, or public property may be charged as felonies. Felony convictions often lead to jail sentences and the loss of rights. For example, a convicted felon in the state is not eligible to own a gun.
If the supposedly stolen property or services are valued between $2,000 and $10,000, or if the accused person allegedly stole a trade secret, they might face a felony charge of third-degree larceny. This crime is a Class D felony that could lead to up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Second-degree larceny involves stolen items or services with a value exceeding $10,000 but less than $20,000. According to Connecticut General Statutes §53a-212, stealing a firearm is second-degree larceny, regardless of the gun’s value. The charge also applies if the theft was accomplished through embezzlement, false pretenses, or false promise, and the alleged victim is a vulnerable person such as an older adult, disabled person, or someone under conservatorship. Second-degree larceny is a Class C felony that carries a potential sentence of one to ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
If the value of the property stolen exceeds $20,000, the defendant could face a first-degree larceny charge. This charge also covers extortion and theft of public property with a value exceeding $2,000 through fraud. First-degree larceny is a Class B felony, and the potential sentence could be one to 20 years in prison and a $15,000 fine. When the stakes are this high, it is essential to work with a New Haven lawyer on a solid defense for the theft charges.
Defending Larceny Charges in New Haven
Intent is a crucial element of all larceny crimes. The prosecutor must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that an accused person intended to steal. This can be difficult to prove, especially if the defense can present evidence indicating an alternative explanation.
When the charges arise from alleged embezzlement, extortion, theft by fraud, false promises, or false pretenses, a local attorney could attack the prosecution’s proof of malicious intent. If witness testimony is critical to the prosecution’s case, the defense could challenge the truthfulness or accuracy of their testimony.
Larceny is not a violent crime, and unless the accused has a prior criminal record, prosecutors are often amenable to dropping or reducing charges. Alternatively, they may allow an accused person to enter a diversion program. In fact, first-degree larceny is the only Class B felony charge that could be resolved through pre-trial diversion. A lawyer at our firm could further explain a person’s legal options when facing theft charges in New Haven.
Work With a New Haven Theft Attorney
Being accused of stealing can be a terrifying and stressful event. Reach out to Ruane Attorneys to get the legal advocacy you need to defeat the larceny charges.
Do not delay seeking legal assistance. Schedule an appointment with a New Haven theft lawyer today.