Theft crimes refer to a broad set of criminal offenses that involve the act of taking someone else’s property without the permission of the original owner; keeping the property without the intent of returning it; and utilizing some form of fraud or deception to obtain the property. If you have been arrested for any type of theft crime, our firm can provide you with an effective defense that can protect your interests and safeguard your constitutional rights.
Being charged with theft can leave you anxious, stressed, and afraid of the consequences you may face. Perhaps you simply made a one-time error in judgment and are now afraid you could end up behind bars. Obviously, this would derail your life, leaving you unable to work and make a living, take care of your family, and do any number of other normal daily activities. While facing theft charges is frightening, having a strong legal advocate by your side is imperative during this difficult time.
Theft Crimes Facts and Statistics
According to the Pew Research Center, larceny and theft are, by far, the most common criminal offenses in the United States. In 2019, there were 1,549.5 theft/larceny crimes per 100,000 people—much higher than the number of violent crimes. Property crimes can either fall under larceny/theft, or burglary and motor vehicle theft. While these numbers are high, they are significantly lower than they were in the early 1990s, when there were closer to 5,000 theft/larceny crimes per 100,000 people.
In 2019, only 32.5 percent of household property thefts were reported to authorities. The reasons for this varied, from fear of reprisal to feelings that the police would not or could not help. A significant number of property crimes that were reported to the police were not solved, which might be a reason why so many go unreported. In fact, nationwide in 2019, only about 17.2 percent of all property crimes involving theft were solved or “cleared.”
Why Choose Idaho Falls Theft Crimes Attorney John Cutler?
Because we are licensed to practice at all levels of state and federal courts in Idaho, we can take on even the most complex cases with efficiency and precision. No matter what type of charges you are facing, an Idaho Falls criminal defense lawyer from our firm is ready to use our knowledge of the law to discover and develop any compelling defense on your behalf. The state of Idaho has two major categories of theft crimes: petit and grand. The legal team at the Cutler Law Office, P.A. can handle misdemeanor petit theft charges or felony charges involving grand theft.
Attorney John Cutler’s passion is to help people by defending those accused of crimes, including theft crimes. John strives to ensure each, and every client receives thorough representation while protecting them from government overreach and violations of their Constitutional Rights. John and his legal team want to ensure that every client’s story is fully told in court so the judge understands that individual and any mitigating reasons for the crime. Justice doesn’t always mean sending someone to prison. Often, it means making the punishment fit the crime for those who have simply made a one-time bad decision. John is committed to ensuring his clients have a comprehensive understanding of their charges, the process they are facing, and the likelihood of a not-guilty verdict or positive plea deal.
When you choose Cutler Law Office, P.A., you will have an office of professional, yet friendly people who want to know your story and who believe in you and your future. When you are potentially facing prison or jail time, you want an attorney who will never give up on you, and who has the knowledge and skills to ensure you receive the best outcome possible for your theft crimes charges. Attorney John Cutler is a member of the Idaho Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and is on their Board, along with being the State Delegate for Idaho for the National College of DUI Defense (NCDD). These organizations help criminal defense lawyers keep up with the changing law and educate attorneys on the best practices in court.
What is Theft?
Theft is generally defined as one of the following:
- The taking of property of another person or entity without authority
- Embezzling funds entrusted to you by your employer
- Theft of labor or services, i.e., hiring someone to work for you under false pretenses, then failing to pay them
- Obtaining money via threats or force, also known as extortion
- Receiving stolen property and keeping that property.
- Fraudulently receiving property
- Theft of livestock
- Auto theft
- 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
What Are the Different Types of Theft in the State of Idaho?
Petit theft – also known as petty theft – is defined as any theft that is not grand theft, but usually involves the theft of property that has been valued at $1,000 or less. Grand theft charges can include many offenses, such as extortion or fraud, theft of property exceeding $1,000, and theft of a check, debit card, firearm, livestock, or identity. While grand theft is generally theft of property that is valued at more than $1,000, it can have other elements as well. Petty theft is a misdemeanor crime, while grand theft is a felony crime. Petty theft falls under Idaho Code Section 18-2407(2) and refers to any theft crime that does not qualify as grand theft.
In general, theft occurs when a person takes the property of another person or entity, with the intent to deprive the owner of that property, appropriating the property to himself or herself. Wrongfully taking or withholding property from the rightful owner is theft and has specific punishments that will depend on the value of the property, along with certain other factors. Petty theft encompasses shoplifting and other theft crimes that involve the theft of property valued at $1,000 or less.
Grand theft involves the theft of any property exceeding a value of $1,000, as well as:
- Any type of “bank” theft, i.e., theft of a check, bank card, credit card, or money order
- A series of thefts that exceed the $1,000 value when added together
- A “criminal episode” of theft, meaning the property was stolen during three or more incidents of theft and has a total value of more than $50.00
- Theft of livestock or animals with a value of more than $150.00
- Firearm thefts
- Public record thefts
- A theft involving anhydrous ammonia
- Theft that caused damage to property
- The use or abuse of a public servant position to steal something
- No matter the value of the property, if it is taken from another person by extortion, it can rise to the level of grand theft
What Are Some Defenses of Theft?
While your specific defense to your charges of theft, whether petty theft or grand theft, will depend on the facts and circumstances surrounding your charges, some of the more common defenses to theft might include:
- Claim of right means you had a good faith belief that the property you took was yours, or that you had a valid claim to the property. You will need evidence supporting this claim.
- Return of property is not a defense to theft, but it could, however, make you more sympathetic in the eyes of the prosecutor, potentially reducing the charges or the penalties involved. If you can potentially show you intended all along to return the property—meaning you meant to borrow it—you may be able to use this as a defense.
- Entrapment—meaning you were induced to commit the crime of theft by another person—can be a defense but is generally difficult to prove.
- The property is yours.
Perhaps you were shopping and accidentally took merchandise to the bathroom and now are being charged with theft. Even though this could well have been an innocent mistake, it must be presented in the right light by an experienced theft crimes attorney.
What Does an Idaho Falls Theft Crimes Attorney Do?
When charged with a theft crime, you may feel hopeless and anxious, particularly if this is your first run-in with the law. Criminal charges of any type can be daunting, thanks to the potential of a criminal trial, jail, and an uncertain future. Theft crimes in the state of Idaho are prosecuted severely, requiring an experienced theft crimes attorney to help you through this difficult time. A theft crimes attorney from Cutler Law Office, P.A. will analyze the circumstances of your case to find anything to help you avoid the severe penalties you are facing.
A good criminal defense attorney will take the time to gather all of the evidence against you and analyze it to see if there are defenses or if the evidence is sufficient to convict. He will then meet with you to plan your defense or strategy for handling the case. If your attorney believes your Constitutional Rights were violated or your arrest was unlawful, then your charges could be dropped, or your attorney can negotiate for a plea deal that reduces your charges or your sentence. While you are not required to have an Idaho Falls theft crimes attorney, it is almost a certainty that your outcome will be much better when you do have an attorney who will fight for you.
How Do You Select an Idaho Falls Theft Crimes Attorney?
Choosing a criminal defense attorney is a bit different from choosing another type of attorney. When you have been criminally charged, your future is on the line. The best way to mitigate the damages from your criminal theft charges is to hire a highly skilled theft crimes attorney like John Cutler with the Cutler Law Office, P.A… You might also ask your friends or family members for referrals. Or, perhaps you can look online to find the best theft crimes attorney for you.
At Cutler Law Office, P.A., we know you have plenty of options when choosing a criminal defense attorney. We believe that if you give us the chance to speak to you about your case, you will easily be able to make the decision. Attorney John Cutler has three decades of criminal law experience and fights for his clients every step of the way.
What Are the Penalties for Idaho Theft Crimes?
Petty theft can be penalized by a fine not exceeding $1,000, imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding 1 year, or both. All grand theft charges are felonies and can result in the following penalties:
- Fines as large as $5,000
- Restitution, in most cases
- From one to 14 years in the state penitentiary
- Anti-theft courses or education
- Grand theft of livestock worth more than $150 is punishable by a fine of not less than $1,000 and not more than $5,000, along with imprisonment in the Idaho State Penitentiary for not less than one year and not more than 14 years.
- 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.
Grand theft is typically considered a crime of “moral turpitude,” which can make it difficult for you to maintain your current employment, obtain future employment, obtain a professional license or certification, and even rent an apartment.
Getting the Help You Need from An Experienced Idaho Falls Theft Crimes Attorney
Do not assume that facing misdemeanor theft crime charges will somehow mean that the implications are less serious. Individuals who are facing a first-time offense such as a minor shoplifting charge could be forced to deal with the repercussions of a permanent criminal record.
Any criminal record, no matter how minor the incident, could result in difficulties applying for scholarships, applying for career opportunities, and applying for a loan for a new home or car. Theft crimes date back to the Ten Commandments and perhaps before and society generally has a negative view of theft crimes and often does not trust an individual who has been convicted of one. It is important that you obtain an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
If you have been charged with a theft crime in Idaho Falls (Bonneville County), Blackfoot (Bingham County), Rigby (Jefferson County), St. Anthony (Fremont County), Rexburg (Madison County), Arco (Butte County), or Island Park (Fremont County), contact Cutler Law Office, P.A. today for experienced and dedicated legal representation. Attorney John Cutler practices primarily in the 7th Judicial District of Idaho and is ready to speak to you today.