Crimes of theft involve the taking of someone else’s property without permission coupled with intent to deprive them of the use or possession of the property permanently. In Massachusetts, crimes of theft range from shoplifting and misdemeanor larceny to felony larceny and white-collar crimes such as embezzlement.
Crimes of theft can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies, with the determining factor largely focusing on the value of the stolen property. In addition to hefty fines and potential jail time, a conviction for a crime involving theft can seriously damage one’s reputation in the community and make finding future employment difficult.
Being charged with shoplifting or larceny can be a stressful and humiliating experience.. If you are facing charges in Quincy, MA for a theft-related crime, we are here for you. Founder Anthony R. Riccio is a skilled Quincy criminal defense lawyer experienced in representing individuals charged with theft-related offenses.
In Massachusetts, the crime of theft is called ‘larceny’ and defined as the act of stealing another’s property. According to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266 Section 30, any person who steals another person’s property shall be guilty of larceny. Under M.G.L. c. 266 §30, larceny or the crime of theft may also include:
With the ‘property’ being the focus of theft crimes, they are sometimes referred to as property crimes. The classification of a particular theft crime largely depends on the type of property stolen and its dollar value. However, crimes of theft involve a victim too, so the category of victim is also taken into consideration. In fact, certain theft-related statutes provide enhanced penalties where the victim is considered vulnerable, including the elderly and disabled.
In Massachusetts, theft is not a single crime, rather it encompasses a group of theft-related crimes. In Massachusetts, common theft crimes include shoplifting, larceny, robbery, and motor vehicle theft. Other typical theft offenses include embezzlement, receiving stolen property, credit card theft, identity theft, and forgery.
Whether a specific offense is characterized as a felony or a misdemeanor depends on several factors, with a particular focus on the stolen property’s value. Generally, larceny will be charged as a misdemeanor when the value of the property is under $1200 and a felony when the value of the property is $1200 or more. Although the value of the property may be under $1200, it may be charged as a felony if the individual has prior convictions for the same or similar crimes. Before for some recent legislative changes, a larceny charge was considered a felony if the value of the property was $250 or more.
Depending on the specific charges, as well as the facts and circumstances of the theft, there is a wide range of penalties that could be imposed, including jail or prison time, fines, restitution, probation, and community service, if convicted of the crime.
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266 Section 30A permits law enforcement officers to arrest without a warrant anyone they have probable cause to believe was shoplifting. Depending on the items stolen and circumstances of the theft, a dismissal of the shoplifting charge may be possible. However, the penalties for a misdemeanor shoplifting offense where the value of the stolen property is less than $250 include:
Additionally, Massachusetts has specific charges with respect to the theft of a motor vehicle. Pursuant to M.G.L. Ch. 266 §28, the felony charge of Larceny of a Motor Vehicle includes a penalty of up to 15 years in state prison or maximum fine of $15,000.
While the type and value of the stolen property are major factors considered when determining appropriate charge(s), there are a number of factors that could directly impact the charges and possible penalties, including:
From arrest to arraignment, the Massachusetts criminal process can move pretty quickly at the start. If you are facing theft-related criminal charges in Quincy, MA or the Greater Boston area, you need an experienced Quincy theft crime defense attorney to defend you against the charges. At Riccio Law, we use our extensive knowledge and experience on criminal matters to craft and present an effective defense in court. We will navigate you through the complex criminal justice system while using all available resources to defend your case. Contact our offices today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about our services.