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5 Basic Differences Between Petty Theft and Grand Theft

Theft is the illegal possession of someone else’s property. This property could be any type of equipment. Depending on the stolen item’s value, the constitution classifies theft into petty and grand theft. 

Petty or petit theft differs from grand theft in several ways. Nonetheless, both are criminal acts that are punishable under the Penal Code. Therefore, both offenses could attract jail sentences, community service, probation, etc. However, as this implies, petty theft attracts a lighter punishment than grand theft.

This article goes over the details of both crimes, providing all the necessary information that you must know. But first, the basics. 

What is Petty Theft?

Petty theft or petit theft is a criminal act that involves the unlawful possession of an individual’s property. This malicious act intends to permanently deprive the owner of this property of using it. For a petty theft to occur, the valued item must be worth less than $750.

Is Petty Theft a Misdemeanor?

Yes, petty theft is a misdemeanor, unlike grand theft felony, in which the individual receives over one-year imprisonment. In petty theft, the accused gets a sentence of one-year imprisonment or less.

Lawyer for Petty Theft

To reduce the consequences of petty theft, the accused need to have a legal representative. Therefore, it is advisable to involve federal criminal defense lawyers in this criminal act. These litigation advocates will give you the proper representation possible and try to reduce the punishment stated in the Penal code.

Petty Theft Charges

The penalty for penal theft charges differs depending on the value of the stolen property. There are two types of penal theft charges which are;

  • Petty Theft First Degree

When the stolen item is above $100 in value yet less than $750, the criminal activity is petty theft of the First Degree. It is punishable with 12 months probation or 1-year imprisonment alongside a petty theft fine of $1,000. A first-degree misdemeanor can also occur when the offender has previously received any judgment for a theft crime.

  • Petty Theft Second Degree

For a petty theft of Second Degree to occur, the stolen item should have a value of less than $100. This criminal act is punishable with 6 months probation, 60 days in prison with a petty theft fine of $500.

Petty Theft Consequences

Petty theft is a crime of dishonesty; thus, a sentence will create a permanent criminal record. So, when the accused is guilty of petty theft, such an individual is liable to face the following consequences:

  • For the first adjudication, the driver’s license is suspended for 6 months. Meanwhile, a second adjudication will attract a one-year suspension.
  • Due to the criminal record, the individual might not get employed or accepted into college.
  • There could be possible suspension of other professional licenses 

Grand Theft Definition

Grand theft is a criminal act that involves the unlawful possession of an individual’s property. This malicious act occurs to permanently deprive the owner of this property of using it. But, for a grand theft to occur, the valued item must be worth $750 or more. 

To justify a grand theft felony, federal criminal defense lawyers have to prove the following:

  • The accused has the plaintiff’s belongings.
  • The accused do not have legal right or permission to have the property.

On taking the item, the accused had the intention to;

  • Perpetually rob the owner of access to the property.
  • Have this belonging for a long time frame. And during this period, the owner misses a significant part of the value he might enjoy from the property.
  • The accused changed the property’s location and was in possession of it for a long time.

Grand Theft Charge

The penalty for grand theft charges differs depending on the value of the stolen property. You might ask, how much is grand theft? Well, it all depends on the Degree of the grand theft felony. There are three types of grand theft charges which are;

Grand Theft 3rd Degree

A grand theft 3rd-degree felony is punishable by up to 5 years of probation or imprisonment. This sentence will also include a $5000 fine. But, for a grand theft felony to have a third-degree charge, the property should be:

  • An automobile
  • Firearm
  • Property valued at less than $20,000 but more than $750.
  • Traffic sign
  • Will
  • Business-related farm animals.

Grand Theft 2nd Degree

A grand theft felony of the second Degree is punishable by up to 15 years in probation or imprisonment. This sentence will also attract a fine of $10,000. To prove grand theft second-degree felony, the property should be;

  • Valued less than $100,000 but more than $20,000.
  • A law enforcement property with a value of $300 or more taken from a licensed emergency vehicle.
  • A shipment valued less than $50,000. This stolen consignment must be within the stream of intrastate or interstate commerce. Plus, the stolen item should be within the shipper’s loading stage to the consignee’s receiving dock.
  • It should be an emergency medical item valued at $300 and above. The theft of this item should be within an authorized medical facility. The theft could also be from an automobile or plane.

Grand Theft 1st Degree

A grand theft felony of a first-degree charge is punishable by up to 30 years imprisonment. The penalty also includes a $10,000 fine. For a first-degree felony to occur, the property must be;

  • Valuable at $100,000 and above.
  • It should be a consignment valued at $50,000 and above. Additionally, this stolen property must be within the intrastate and interstate business stream. 
  • A mini-trailer used by an officer.

Petty Theft vs. Grand Theft

There are several differences between petty theft and grand theft. They are;

  1. For petty theft, the stolen item must be worth less than $750. Meanwhile, the stolen item must be worth $750 or more for a grand theft felony to occur. 
  2. Grand theft felony receives over one-year imprisonment. In petty theft, the accused gets a sentence of one year in prison or less. 
  3. In petty theft, the first adjudication will attract a 6 months driver’s license suspension. Meanwhile, a second adjudication will attract a one-year suspension. However, for grand theft, a driver’s license might not be suspended.
  4. Petty theft is a misdemeanor offense, while grand theft is a felony offense.
  5. For petty theft, there are first and second-degree charges. Meanwhile, a grand theft felony has first, second, and third-degree charges. 

Conclusion

The above contrast shows how petty theft differs from grand theft. We also observed that petty theft is possessing valuable items below $750. Grand theft, however, is the illegal movement of a valued property above $750.

Petty theft and grand theft are punishable under the Penal Code of the Federal constitution. Plus, both offenses attract punishments like jail time, probation, restitution, etc.

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