The crime of theft is usually defined as the unlawful taking of another person’s property without their consent and with the intent to permanently deprive the victim of the property. The legal term of larceny will also refer to other theft crimes such as robbery, fraud and embezzlement.
Theft can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony. The value of the item(s) taken determines the seriousness of the crime. Many jurisdictions use an amount of $500.00. Items valued at under $500.00 are prosecuted as petty theft. Items in excess of $500.00 are prosecuted as grand theft. These threshold values change as the value of money changes.
The crime of theft whether it is petty theft or grand larceny is defined by statute and is described as taking the property of another with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of that property. Petty theft in a commercial establishment is commonly called shoplifting. A common defense to theft is mistake. If a person browsing the aisles of a store places an item in his pocket instead of his cart, then buys all the items in his cart but does not pay for the item in his pocket, he did not commit a theft of the item in his pocket if he can prove he forgot about the item and "mistakenly" left the store without paying.
Another defense is the lack of intent to permanently deprive the owner of possession. If a person takes his neighbor's lawnmower without permission, he did not commit a theft if he can prove he only intended to borrow the item to mow his lawn and intended to return it.
Finally, there are a few categories of theft that have been on the rise in this state and across the United States generally. They include theft involving credit cards, identity, and Internet fraud.
For more information on larceny, theft, embezzlement, and other crimes visit GotTrouble.com