Westport Theft Lawyer
When many people think of theft, they immediately think of shoplifting. While this is an offense covered by Connecticut’s theft laws, there are far more examples of theft than simple shoplifting.
These can include theft by false pretenses, receiving stolen property, or theft of services, to name a few. These examples create a far more nuanced picture of Connecticut theft law, which reaches beyond shoplifting.
If you are facing charges of theft, contact a skilled defense attorney right away. Westport theft lawyers work with people who have been charged with all types of theft-related crimes to work towards a powerful defense tailored to the specific circumstances surrounding their case.
Theft Laws in Connecticut
Theft laws in Connecticut can be deceptively simple. The state has grouped most theft crimes together under the umbrella of larceny. Larceny is the taking of another person’s property with the intent to deprive them of the use of it.
Within the same statute, larceny is separated into 18 different categories. Prominent examples of this include:
- Obtaining Property by False Pretenses: This is defined as when a person obtains property through any false means with the intent to keep it. An example may include a person taking out an ad online for computer repair. When a customer drops off the computer, the person placing the ad simply keeps it and never returns it
- Receiving Stolen Property: This is when a person takes property when the know that it was probably stolen or believed that it was probably stolen
- Theft of Services: This occurs when a person takes advantage of a service, such as a meal at a restaurant, or a hotel room, and leaves without paying the bill
Shoplifting is also included in Connecticut statute. Connecticut defines this as when a person intentionally takes goods from a store without paying the purchase price. A person’s attempt to take the item, by hiding it in their coat for example, also counts as shoplifting.
Therefore, when a person asks, “how could I be charged with shoplifting, I never took the item from the store?”, hiding the item under a blanket in their shopping cart or leaving it on the bottom rack of the cart may be sufficient evidence of their intent to take it. It is this question of intent that is often at the center of all theft cases.
Penalties for Theft
The penalties for theft in Connecticut are defined by statute. Generally speaking, the penalties become more severe as the value in goods taken increases.
- If the value exceeds $20,000, the case will be considered Larceny in the First-Degree, a class B Felony. Penalties include from one to 20 years in prison with a fine of up to $15,000.
- The least serious theft category, Larceny in the Sixth-Degree, is a class C Misdemeanor and this applies when the value of the items is less than $500. This is punishable by a maximum term of up to three months in jail and a fine of $500.
If the value is anywhere between these minimums and maximums, the penalties will scale with the value of the item and are too numerous to list here. There are six degrees of larceny in total.
Westport theft attorneys will help someone to better understand the nature of their charges and identify the possible penalties.
Contacting a Westport Theft Attorney
Being charged with a theft-related crime in Connecticut can be a frightening experience. If a person faces charges of theft for an item valued at only a few dollars, the penalties can include jail time and significant fines. Any conviction for a crime, even a misdemeanor theft, will remain on a person’s criminal record.
Do not take any unnecessary chances. Westport theft lawyers work with clients who have been accused of all types of Connecticut theft crimes. From shoplifting, to larceny of services, to larceny by extortion or deception, skilled Westport attorneys are available to help. They will be at your side every step of the way from the arraignment and bail hearings, through pretrial motions, through a possible trial. Contact today to see how they can help protect your freedom.