Grand Theft Lawyers | Helena Office | Serving Clancy, MT
7 W 6th Ave., Suite 4-N, Helena, MT 59601
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Grand theft is an escalated version of larceny or theft. What aggravates the severity of the crime and the penalties is the value of the property stolen. If you are convicted of grand theft you can be punished by a fine and incarceration. Actual penalties will vary by state law and the particulars of the theft crime committed.
Grand theft is generally distinguished from the lesser variation of the same offense (theft or petty theft) in terms of the value of the goods/money being stolen. The threshold for an incident of theft being escalated to grand theft is determined at the state level and ranges from about $500 to $1,000.
However, there are exceptions. Regardless of the monetary value of the object(s) being stolen, theft charges can be enhanced to grand theft charges if a firearm or vehicle is part of the theft.
Grand larceny and grand theft may mean the same thing. In fact, many states simply use one or the other term interchangeably.
Theft is, generally speaking, a broader category of offense. Identity theft and intellectual property theft are examples. However, larceny concerns itself with the theft of personal property, making this offense slightly more narrow in its description than theft more broadly.
Whether the crime is called grand larceny or grand theft, the meaning of the charges and their severity remains largely the same.
Grand theft is more likely to be charged as a felony than as a misdemeanor, but recent changes to many state laws have allowed for discretion in this matter. In states, for example, grand theft is a “wobbler” offense, meaning that any such incident meeting the threshold for grand theft within the state (set at a sum value of $950 or more) could be charged as either a felony or as a misdemeanor.
By contrast, in other states, grand theft is always considered to be a felony, ranging in severity from a third-degree felony offense to a first-degree felony offense.
Even misdemeanor charges of grand theft, or grand theft auto, can result in a year behind bars for those found guilty. Felony charges are more likely to result in a lengthier prison term ranging from one to 30 years, depending on the severity of the offense and whether the charges were classified as first, second or third-degree felonies.
In some cases, particularly in instances where a grand theft charge is filed as a misdemeanor, it may be possible to negotiate with the prosecution in order to avoid a jail sentence. The importance of securing professional and experienced legal representation cannot be understated if you are facing charges related to grand theft, and a skilled criminal defense attorney can substantially reduce the chances of facing a conviction.
Youth offenders are typically also exempt from jail terms.
Grand theft charges, and their related sentences for those found guilty of the offense, vary greatly depending on the jurisdiction the case is tried within.
To illustrate one end of the sentencing spectrum, some states allow for a maximum penalty of 30 years imprisonment in response to a conviction on first-degree felony charges (called for when property worth $100,000 or more is stolen). Second-degree grand theft (charged when property worth more than $20,000 but less than $100,000 is stolen) can result in up to 15 years of incarceration — or 15 years of probation — in the same state, while a first-degree grand theft conviction (theft over $750 but under $20,000) calls for up to five years behind bars or a five year probation period.
In other states, by contrast, a grand theft charge can be issued as a misdemeanor. If found guilty of misdemeanor grand theft in state court, offenders could face up to one year in county jail. If convicted of a felony grand theft charge, guilty parties could spend up to three years in county jail before penalty enhancements. The maximum penalty enhancement possible is an additional four years in jail and is possible if the sum value of the goods stolen exceeds $3.2 million.
If you have been charged with grand theft you are facing a serious charge. Grand theft is a felony punishable by years in prison if you are convicted. Call a lawyer skilled in criminal defense and get representation. Your attorney can arrange bail and help protect your legal rights.
Specialized legal help is available for most legal issues. Each case is unique; seeking legal help is a smart first step toward understanding your legal situation and seeking the best path toward resolution for your case. An experienced lawyer understands the local laws surrounding your case and what your best legal options might be. More importantly, there are certain situations and circumstances – such as being charged with a crime – where you should always seek experienced legal help.
In general, how much an attorney costs will often depend on these four factors: billing method and pricing structure, type of legal work performed, law firm prestige, and attorney experience. Depending on the legal issue you are facing, an attorney may bill you by the hour, settle on a flat fee, or enter into a contingency fee agreement. The type of legal work you need help with will also play a role in cost incurred.
Affidavit – A sworn written statement made under oath. An affidavit is meant to be a supporting document to the court assisting in the verification of certain facts. An affidavit may or may not require notarization.