Theft allegations can leave you shaken up, exposing you to potentially severe punishments as well as collateral consequences. It is perfectly natural that you are scared, anxious, and possibly even angry. After all, a criminal charge can have a devastating effect on your life, your job, and your relationships. Your fears can include the criminal penalties you could face, as well as what happens after. If you have been charged with theft, it is important that you immediately speak to an experienced Idaho Falls criminal defense attorney.
Why Choose Cutler Law Office, P.A. Following Theft Allegations?
Attorney John Cutler has been helping people in difficult situations for going on three decades. Cutler Law Office, P.A. will help you navigate the court system while providing clear, honest information regarding your options. John can answer your questions, helping to alleviate your anxiety, while also helping you handle the practical aspects of your theft allegations. These practical aspects can include helping you get out of jail and can make your decisions with a clearer head. John will help you choose your future options in a way that will result in the best outcome.
What Are the Levels of Theft in Idaho?
The state of Idaho combines embezzlement, extortion, larceny, shoplifting, grand theft, and others under a general theft offense umbrella. Theft is defined in the state of Idaho as:
- The theft of services or labor
- Taking the property of another person or entity without authorization, including shoplifting
- Deceptively taking control of the property of another person or entity
- Using threats (extortion) to obtain the property of another person
- Embezzling property or money
- Receiving stolen property
- Obtaining property through fraud, misrepresentations, or false promises
- Failing to return a rental car or another type of rental equipment within 48 hours of it being due
- Not making an effort to find the true owner of lost property
There are two major categories of theft in the state of Idaho—Petit theft is a misdemeanor offense, while grand theft is a felony offense. Penalties for both petit theft and grand theft will depend on the type of property stolen, the value of the stolen property, and the manner in which the property was taken. Petit theft (also known as petty theft) occurs when the property stolen is valued at $1,000 or less, or livestock valued at $150 or less. Some thefts always rise to the level of grand theft, regardless of the amount involved, including extortion, theft directly from a person, and theft of firearms, financial instruments, and public records.
Grand theft includes extortion, taking property directly from another person, taking any property with a value over $1,000, unlawfully taking a firearm, taking livestock or any animal with a value over $150, theft of public records or any banking instrument, theft of anhydrous ammonia, or any series of small thefts that involve a common scheme.
What Are the Potential Penalties Associated with Theft?
If you are charged with a petit theft misdemeanor, you could potentially face up to a year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. Shoplifting penalties are the same as petit theft if the value taken is $1000 or less, but there are also provisions for civil restitution to the store. Idaho has a separate offense for possessing an anti-theft detection device designed to remove alarm devices. A first-time conviction for this offense is a misdemeanor, while a second offense within five years is a felony with potential punishments of up to five years in prison and a $1,000 fine.
The penalties for grand theft include:
- If the theft involves taking or killing livestock, you could face from one to 14 years in prison, along with a fine between $1,000 and $5,000. A person who steals livestock will also be liable for repaying the owner of the value of the livestock.
- When grand theft is committed through extortion, you could face a fine as large as $10,000, and from one to 20 years in prison.
- All other acts of grand theft have a potential sentence of one to 14 years in prison and a fine as large as $5,000.
Idaho also allows for enhanced penalties for any offender convicted of a third felony or a “persistent violator.” In this case, the sentence is a minimum of five years in prison and up to life in prison in extreme cases.
What Are Some of the Most Common Defenses to Allegations of Theft in Idaho?
While your specific defense to your theft allegations will depend on your situation and the facts surrounding your case, some of the most common defenses to theft include:
- Claim of right—you actually believed you had a right to the property—even if that belief is unreasonable or mistaken
- Return of property—while intent to return the property is not a defense, actually returning the property could mitigating at sentencing.
- Lack of specific intent
- You can prove you actually owned the property
How Can Choosing Cutler Law Office Help You?
Attorney John Cutler is ready to help you defend against your Idaho Falls theft allegations. John and his legal team strive to provide a full-service criminal defense firm that provides a high level of experience and assistance throughout your journey through the criminal justice system. We will fully review and dig into the facts of your theft allegations. If you live in Idaho Falls, Blackfoot, Rigby, St. Anthony, Rexburg, Driggs, Arco, Victor, or Island Park, contact Cutler Law Office, P.A.