Many theft crimes are drug-related. The reason for this is because many people who have become addicted to street drugs cannot afford them through regular means. As a result, they may attempt to commit theft in order to support their drug habit.

Some street drug dealers accept stolen items as payment for illicit drugs. Alternatively, the person purchasing the drugs may try to sell or pawn off the items that they stole instead and use the money they receive from those sales to buy the drugs.

Drug-related theft crimes are often associated with drugs that are highly addictive. This is why there is often a cycle of repeat offenders and continuous theft. Some of these more highly addictive drugs include: heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamines, prescription pain pills, and any other drugs that lead to habitual use.

On the other hand, drug-related theft is not typically linked to non-addictive recreational drugs, such as ecstasy, marijuana, or hallucinogens. Nevertheless, habitual users of recreational drugs may still turn to stealing to support their lifestyle.

What are Some Examples of Drug-Related Theft Crimes?

Most incidents of drug-related theft crimes involve the defendant stealing some form of currency (e.g., cash or a credit card), or an item that they can resell, such as electronics or jewelry. Other times, the drug-related theft crime may include an element of violence. 

For instance, if a defendant chooses to rob a pharmacy for pills and they use a gun to do it, the charges brought against the defendant may also contain a count for robbery.

Some common examples of drug-related theft crimes include:


  • Petty theft;
  • Credit card fraud;
  • Embezzlement;
  • Property crimes, such as burglary or breaking and entering.
  • Gang related crimes, (e.g., hold-ups);
  •  More serious crimes, such as grand larceny; and
  • Various other scams and fraud schemes, including prescription drug theft and prescription drug fraud.

In many instances, these crimes are repeated on a daily basis and occasionally, even more than once per day. Sometimes these crimes will be committed by a group of people, like a gang. As such, additional non-drug related crimes such as conspiracy may also be included as part of the charges against them.

What are the Punishments of Drug-Related Theft Crimes?

The type of punishment that a defendant may receive will largely depend on the type of crime committed. A less serious crime (misdemeanor), such as petty theft, will often result in a small fine and possibly several months (up to a year) in jail. 

For example, suppose  a defendant shoplifts a few inexpensive items of clothing or accessories from a retail store to resell them for drug money. They will likely face much lower consequences than a defendant who burglarized an entire mansion and stole thousands of dollars’ worth of items.

In contrast, a more violent or serious crime like grand larceny or robbery, may result in a felony charge. The type of punishment given for these sorts of crimes can involve longer prison sentences and potentially higher criminal fines. 

For instance, the defendant in the above example who burglarized the mansion would most likely end up receiving a prison sentence and some serious fines.

Moreover, if it was discovered that the burglary was in fact a robbery, meaning the defendant used force with a deadly weapon to steal from the house, then it would be considered a felony and the defendant could face a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

Also, repeat offenses are more common when it comes to drug-related crimes. A defendant who is facing a second or third theft charge may face greater legal ramifications as well.

Furthermore, federal drug charges usually result in a more severe punishment than state charges. In addition to the type of crime committed and whether the defendant is a repeat offender, the state may also consider the type of drugs involved and the quantity of them.

Lastly, when an individual is convicted for a drug crime, they can also face other serious life consequences, such as a loss of custody of their children, loss of residency, and in some instances deportation.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Issues Involving Drug-Related Theft Crimes?

Drug-related theft crimes often have serious criminal consequences. If you are facing charges for a drug-related theft crime, you should strongly consider contacting a criminal defense attorney immediately.

A qualified criminal defense attorney can give you important legal advice, negotiate a plea bargain if necessary, and provide representation on behalf of your best interests in court. An attorney can also determine whether any defenses to drug crimes are applicable to your case.

In addition, they can answer any questions you may have regarding repeat offenses, the resulting punishments, and any other issues that may be related to your case.

Finally, you should also consider hiring an attorney who is local to your area. This will ensure that they know both the federal consequences involved with drug-related theft crimes. They will also be familiar with the specific statutes that are relevant in your state, including the degree of an offense.