Bridgeport Theft Lawyer
Theft and its related crimes are some of the more easily misunderstood sections of the Connecticut criminal statutes. Because of the complexity of the statute, it is essential for those charged to contact experienced defense attorneys quickly. Bridgeport theft lawyers can work hard representing individuals who have been accused of theft in Connecticut, helping them to better understand the nature of the charges and to form an effective defense in court. En Español.
Theft Crimes in Connecticut
Theft is re-defined in Connecticut as larceny. CT Gen Stat 53a-119 defines larceny as: “…when, with intent to deprive another of property or to appropriate the same to himself, or a third person, he wrongfully takes, obtains, or withholds such property from an owner.”
Theft occurs anytime a person takes property with the intent to steal it from another. The statute continues to list no less than 18 different sub-sections of larceny. The most common of these are:
- Theft of Services: This is when a person obtains a service from another, such as a meal in a restaurant, the use of a hotel room, or a movie at a theater, without paying for it
- Receiving Stolen Property: When a person obtains, receives, or disposes of property either knowing that it was stolen, or believing that it was stolen. One defense to this is that the person received the property with the intent to return it to the rightful owner
- Shoplifting: Here, a person must intentionally take possession of a good sold at a store with the intent to convert the good to their own use without paying. If a person conceals the goods, either on the grounds of the store or outside of the store, this is evidence of an intent to steal the item
Regardless of the categories under which a person is charged, an important aspect of these definitions to remember is that the prosecutor must prove that a defendant intended to steal the property.
As in all criminal cases, the prosecutor has the burden to prove all elements of a charge. Therefore, an effective line of defense is to argue that the defendant did not intend to steal the item when they took possession of it.
The penalties for larceny range from a class C misdemeanor to a class B felony. The severity of the charge is not determined by the circumstances of the theft but rather by the value of the items taken. For example, if a person is accused of stealing anything valued at less than $500, this will be larceny in the sixth degree, a class C misdemeanor.
This range contains various penalties and classifications for all strata of property value, up to larceny in the first degree, a Class B felony. This requires that the defendant be accused of taking property in excess of $20,000 in value, or that the property was obtained by extortion,
The penalties for convictions under this statute are as varied as the levels of the crimes, and directly correspond to the value of the items taken. For a class C misdemeanor, for instance, a maximum jail term of three months may be prescribed. Additionally, a fine of up to $500 may be imposed. For felony offenses, the penalties are much harsher. Class B felonies can result in up to 20 years in prison, as well as a minimum of one year in jail, with a fine of up to $15,000. Regardless of the conviction level, restitution for the property taken may also be required.
How a Bridgeport Theft Attorney Can Help
If you have been accused of theft, either for the first time or for the tenth, skilled theft attorneys in Bridgeport are available to help. They understand the theft laws in Connecticut and work to disprove the prosecutor’s case from the outset. They will stand by your side every step of the way from arraignment and bail hearings, to pre-trial motions, to a final trial date.
Remember, the burden is on the prosecutor to prove that not only did you take the property, but also that you intended to take the property. With this in mind, Bridgeport theft lawyers work to discredit the prosecutor’s theory of the case and to protect your freedom. Contact today.