Grand Theft Lawyers | Kalispell Office | Serving Whitefish, MT
1830 3rd Ave E, Suite 302, Kalispell, MT 59901
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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.
Prepare for your consultation by writing down notes of your understanding of the case, jot down questions and concerns for the attorney, and gather your documents. Remember that you are trying to get a sense of whether the attorney has your trust and can help you address your legal issues. Questions should include how the attorney intends to resolve your issue, how many years he/she has been practicing law and specifically practicing in your area, as well as how many cases similar to yours the attorney has handled. It can also be helpful to broach the subject of fees so that you understand the likely cost and structure of your representation by a specific attorney and/or legal team.
The more experienced a lawyer is in legal practice, the more likely he/she will be able to bring about a successful resolution to your issue. Since experience matters, lawyers who’ve been practicing law for many years (with a successful track record) tend to be in high demand. You should look for information about a lawyer’s experience and ask questions during the initial meeting. It’s a very good idea to ask the lawyer how many years he/she has been practicing law and the expected outcome of your case.
Pro se – This Latin term refers to representing yourself in court instead of hiring professional legal counsel. Pro se representation can occur in either criminal or civil cases.
Statute – Refers to a law created by a legislative body. For example, the laws enacted by Congress are statutes.
Subject matter jurisdiction – Requirement that a particular court have authority to hear the claim based on the specific type of issue brought to the court. For example, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court only has subject matter jurisdiction over bankruptcy filings, therefore it does not have the authority to render binding judgment over other types of cases, such as divorce.