If you have been charged with theft or larceny in the state of Rhode Island, your next call should be to a Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyer experienced with grand theft defense. Your charge many only be a minor one, but it is to your advantage to work with a grand theft attorney who understands the full spectrum of applicable laws and potential punishments.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that you will only receive a slap on the wrist. You should also avoid thinking that your defense is hopeless and that you should plead guilty outright. If you are serious about putting your best interests first and fighting to preserve your finances, freedoms, and future reputation, you need to partner with a grand theft attorney sooner rather than later.
What is Considered Theft?
Without going too deep into the specifics of Rhode Island state law, theft is any act where someone wrongfully takes an item of value with the intention of depriving the original owner of that item. This can include any property, but the state laws make special mention of money, automobiles, goods, chattel, bank bills, promissory notes, and several other things. The laws also point out several specific types of offense that may not be covered elsewhere:
- Receiving goods that have been stolen
- Embezzling or fraudulently converting funds
- Obtaining property through false pretenses
- Larceny from an immediate person
- Theft of animals
This is a broad overview, but to dive into the details you will want to rely on a grand theft attorney. Someone like a grand theft attorney will be your most reliable guide through a category of laws that are more complex and vague than many people realize.
What are the Categories of Theft?
Grand theft is not actually a category of theft that is recognized in Rhode Island, even when it comes to the theft of automobiles. Rather, the state separates theft into misdemeanor and felony categories. No matter which you are charged with, you will want to reach out to a grand theft attorney. They will have the experience and insights you’re looking for even if the name is a little different. This is what determines which type of theft you are charged with:
- Misdemeanor – This is the charge you will receive if the value of the stolen property totals less than $500. The punishments are a jail sentence of no more than one year, a fine of no more than $500, or both.
- Felony – This is the charge if the value of the stolen property totals more than $500 or the property that is stolen is a firearm of any value. The punishment is a prison sentence of no more than ten years, a fine or no more than $5,000, or both.
The punishments for either of these charges may increase if the victim of the theft is a minor or a person over the age of 65.
Why do You Need a Grand Theft Attorney?
If you want to protect yourself from the unexpected, you need to partner with a grand theft attorney as soon as you can. The outline above might make a theft charge seem relatively simple and straightforward. But in practice they are quite complex, and proceeding forward recklessly can have consequences you never intended. Things are easier on any defendant when they have a grand theft attorney to turn to for answers and advice.
There is also a lot on the line. If you are charged with even misdemeanor theft you could lose up to a year of your life. Those kinds of sentences are rare, but only because most defendants rely on a grand theft attorney to make the case that the punishment does not fit the crime. And if you are charged with felony theft, the fallout will impact you for the rest of your life. Not only will you likely spend time behind bars and have to pay heft fines, you will have a felony conviction on your record. That puts a lot of formal restrictions on your rights and freedoms while also branding you as a thief for life.
A lot is on the line. Why let one mistake or a moment of impulsive decision making put your future in jeopardy? With the right grand theft attorney in your corner, you can mount a spirited defense and make a compelling case for your innocence. When it’s unreasonable to expect a not-guilty verdict, your grand theft attorney can also help you argue for a lesser sentence. And throughout the process, you have someone you can trust giving you objective and honest advice. When you need to reach out to an experienced grand theft attorney, turn to Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyers at the Law Office of John MacDonald. Call 401.421.1440.