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The 3 categories of theft, depending on severity

Standing accused of any type of crime can turn your life upside down. A number of scenarios could lead to criminal charges coming against you, and from the start, it is important for you to gain as much information as possible about the charges themselves and your options for addressing them.

If someone accuses you of taking his or her property without the intention of returning it, it is likely that the person is accusing you of theft. However, if criminal charges come against you as a result of the accusations, the charges will fall into a specific category of theft.

Categories of theft

In general, three categories of theft exist, and each corresponds with a certain severity of the crime. These categories play important roles because they can influence the sentencing of a person convicted of the specific type of theft. The three categories of theft include petty theft, grand theft and grand felony theft. Your charges will fall into a category, depending on the monetary value of the property and the type of property allegedly taken. Consider the following information:

  • Petty theft, also known as petit theft, occurs when someone takes items low in value. In New York, if the total value of the items does not exceed $1,000, the crime is petty theft.
  • Grand theft is more serious than petty theft and could fall into the category of either a misdemeanor or a felony. The type of property stolen and how the theft took place could affect this charge.
  • Grand felony theft occurs when a crime meets or exceeds the monetary value threshold. New York State has a $3,000 threshold for this type of situation.

The details of the crime can also determine whether authorities would consider it a misdemeanor or felony. For instance, if someone physically takes property from another person, such as snatching a purse, it is more likely that felony theft charges will result.

Defending against allegations

Once you understand the type of theft charge you face and its severity, you may be more able to make informed decisions regarding your criminal defense strategies. Finding the right options for your case can depend on many factors, so it is wise to fully explore your available courses of action. Enlisting the help of an attorney during this time and throughout your case may allow you to move forward confidently.