Aggravated theft is almost always considered a serious crime with punishments that may include fines or incarceration or both. Aggravated theft refers to theft that, in addition to the intent to steal property, includes an additional “aggravating” element.
For example, aggravated theft is typically defined as taking property of another while using force against the person or putting another person in fear by use of threat or violence. More specifically stated, aggravated theft is taking property from its rightful owner by force, fear, coercion, or threat against life.
Even if a person isn’t particularly violent or vicious when they acted, but they took property with one of the aggravating elements above, then they may be guilty of aggravated theft as opposed to mere theft. In some states, the amount taken or the value of something taken can also be considered aggravated theft.
What Are Some Examples of Aggravated Theft Crimes?
There are a number of ways that an individual can be charged with aggravated theft. The most common include the following:
Stealing property worth more than a certain amount. In many states, the threshold for aggravated theft is when the stolen property has a value of $1,000 or more. This means that if someone steals less than this amount, they may still be charged with a regular theft crime or even a misdemeanor, but generally not aggravated theft if threat or violence was not used.
Property is commonly defined as something of value which can include land, animals, food, and even electricity.
Carjacking. Carjacking is an aggravated theft charge that varies depending on the state law where it is committed. Some states make distinctions between crimes such as “robbery” and “aggravated theft”.
In the case of carjacking, aggravated theft is theft accompanied by any of a number of aggravating factors, such as the use of a weapon, the taking of a hostage, or the causing of serious bodily injury. Aggravated theft charges can also include burglary and larceny.
Defenses To Aggravated Theft
There are a few defenses that an individual may be able to use in order to reduce or dismiss their aggravated theft charge. These include the following:
The property was not taken from the owner – If it can be shown that the accused did not take the property from the rightful owner, even though force was used, they may be able to reduce their charge.
The accused had permission to take the property – If it can be shown that the accused had permission to take the property, they may be able to reduce their charge or get the charge dismissed.
The theft was not actually aggravated – If an individual is charged with aggravated theft but it can be determined that their taking of property did not include any aggravating factors within the definition of “aggravated theft”, then they may have their aggravated theft charge reduced to simple theft.
Aggravated Theft vs. Grand Larceny vs. Petit Larceny
Although all three of these crimes are thefts, there are some major differences between them. While grand larceny is the illegal possession of property that has been taken with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of their property, petit larceny is considered more of a specific type of theft.
The difference between the two is that while grand larceny generally involves property worth more than $5,000 or an automobile, petit larceny involves all other types of stolen goods. Aggravated theft can be charged in conjunction with grand larceny and petit larceny if an aggravating factor was used to commit the theft.
What’s The Difference Between Aggravated Theft and Robbery?
In some states, if an individual uses force or threat of force to take another person’s belongings, they can be charged with robbery instead of aggravated theft. Robbery in some jurisdictions is considered an aggravated form of theft and is typically punished more severely than regular theft crimes. Robbery is usually punishable by imprisonment according to the degree of violence used.
Both aggravated theft and robbery are charges involving thefts where there was some sort of force involved in taking another person’s belongings. However, there are also two major differences between these crimes:
Many states have different degrees of robbery charges, including simple robbery and aggravated robbery, which is a type of aggravated theft.
The difference between the two is that while a person commits a simple robbery when they use or threaten force to take another person’s goods, an individual can be charged with aggravated robbery if they use a deadly weapon, cause bodily harm to the victim, abduct the victim, or commit the crime during certain types of weather conditions.
In most states, all forms of aggravated theft are considered felonies. In some cases, such as those mentioned above for aggravating factors that automatically make the offense serious enough to be considered an aggravated form of theft instead of regular theft, being charged with this crime could even lead to life imprisonment.
What Are Some Penalties of Aggravated Theft?
If you are convicted of aggravated theft, you will potentially be facing some very harsh penalties.
The fines alone can be upwards of thousands of dollars, and the jail time can sometimes range from 180 days to 10 years or more depending on the seriousness of the crime and possibly any prior convictions on your record.
There is also a strong chance that you will have to pay restitution for damages caused during the crime. Examples can include anything from replacing stolen items to covering medical expenses incurred by victims who were injured during the incident.
If these consequences weren’t enough, once someone has been convicted of this type of offense they will always have it as part of criminal records. This may make it difficult to find employment in the future or get into school or university programs that require criminal background checks.
Contacting An Aggravated Theft Attorney Near Me
Aggravated theft laws can be difficult to understand. Consulting with a criminal defense attorney may help you better understand aggravated theft charges. If you are currently facing an aggravated theft charge, it is very important that you seek legal advice from a qualified attorney.
An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to advise you on your best course of action for this particular situation and how an attorney would handle your case in court. By speaking with an attorney, you could potentially reduce or dismiss the consequences associated with the crime so that you do not face severe penalties down the road.
It’s also important to remember that just because someone has been charged with this offense does not mean they are automatically guilty. Your lawyer will investigate each element of your case to determine if there are any possible defenses that could be used on your behalf.
If you have been accused of aggravated theft, it is important to seek legal help as soon as possible. The consequences of a conviction can be very severe and may include time in prison, fines, and a criminal record. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will be able to advise you on the best course of action for your particular situation and help protect your rights.