A charge of misdemeanor theft varies greatly from that of a charge of felony theft. So, how are some people charged with a misdemeanor form and others a felony form? Largely, this distinction comes down to state law as each state has charging guidelines. If you have been accused of theft, learn about some of the factors the state might use to determine whether to classify your charge as a felony.
One of the first factors that the state will look over is your criminal history. In many instances, an individual who has a criminal history, especially one that includes theft, is more likely to receive a felony classification for their charge even if they do not meet the other typical criteria for this classification. It is also worth noting that the state in which you are charged will not just review your local criminal history; other states are subject to review as well.
Value of Stolen Goods
How much the items that were stolen are worth is another qualifying factor for a felony charge. Any item(s) valued above this threshold will result in an automatic upgrade to a felony charge. Each state has the power to set its own value threshold, so it is important to know the law in the state in which you are accused of the crime. However, there are states that have a threshold as high as $2,500 and some states as low as $500.
Type of Property
What was stolen is also of importance. First, anytime a weapon is stolen, such as a firearm, a felony classification is likely to follow. There is serious intent behind this type of action, and the criminal justice system does not take it lightly. Also, large items, such as a vehicle, generally also qualify as felonies, even if the value of the vehicle falls below the stolen goods value threshold for the state.
A Felony is a Serious Matter
A charge for any crime is a serious matter. However, if you are charged with a felony, the level of severity is significant. The charge of felony theft has the potential to come along with serious consequences. It is vital you seek help with this matter in the form of an attorney. An attorney understands the law and will do everything in their power to ensure you are protected.
No matter what, make sure you take the charges against you seriously, even if you are not charged with felony theft.
For further tips, reach out to a local felony attorney.