While we watch the numbers of COVID-19 cases come in, there is one number that is reportedly on the decline. Crime. Time reports that “Chicago’s crime declined 10% after the pandemic struck, a trend playing out globally as cities report stunning crime drops in the weeks since measures were put into place to slow the spread of the virus.” However, one crime is still occurring: theft.
For many, it’s a sign of desperation, as essentials like hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol and face masks are nowhere to be found. Houston, Texas, police reported 33 coronavirus-related thefts in March. These incidents occurred in homes, restaurants, nursing facilities, and even hospitals.
But what happens if you have been falsely accused of a theft charge? Who is going to defend you? You need legal representation from a criminal defense attorney. We can help.
Types of Theft Charges
There are four main types of theft charges in the United States. While all housed under theft offenses, there are some distinct differences between these crimes.
Burglary is often referred to as the unlawful entry into a structure with the intent to commit any crime inside. No physical breaking and entering is required as the offender can trespass through an open door. Another person does not need to be present during a burglary.
Robbery is theft accomplished by violence or the threat of it. The crime of robbery almost always requires the presence of a victim who is threatened with bodily harm. If a weapon is used, the charge may be upgraded to armed or aggravated.
The key to the robbery is the use of force. Even if it is a minimal amount of force or the threat alone causes someone to hand over property, a robbery has occurred.
Larceny is defined as the unlawful taking and carrying away of someone else’s property without that individual’s consent, with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property. This is what people often refer to as theft.
Larceny charges vary depending on the worth of the property stolen.
Extortion is the gaining of property or money by any kind of force or threat of violence, property damage, harm to reputation, or government action. Different from robbery, the threat related to extortion does not have to be immediate.
A felony charge, extortion can occur over the phone, via mail, text, email or wireless communication.
Penalties of Theft Charges
Because the severity of the crime determines the penalty, a theft charge can result in small to large fines in addition to prison time.
However, many factors will play into your sentence such as prior offenses, intent, the monetary value of the property taken, etc.
This is why you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to handle your case.
COVID-19 CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS
If you have been accused of a theft crime, contact us today. There are many factors that go into determining your penalty. Do not be rushed through the system because of the current health crisis. Your cases and your voice matters. Contact us today.