Grand theft is a serious crime involving thefts of property or money. In most jurisdictions, grand theft is listed as a felony. It is usually defined as theft that is worth over a certain amount, anywhere from $500-$1,000, depending on the state. Grand theft is also called grand larceny in some areas.
Grand theft may often overlap with other types of criminal issues, including white collar crime, robbery (theft involving the use of force), or embezzlement. Grand theft auto is a separate crime that specifically involves the theft of an automobile.
As mentioned, grand theft will usually result in felony charges. In addition, grand theft can sometimes be further categorized into degrees, such as 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree grand theft (with 1st degree being the most serious and resulting in the most serious consequences).
For instance, 3rd degree grand theft may cover theft cases ranging from $500 to $3,000; 2nd degree may cover $3,000-$50,000; and 1st degree will cover cases involving $50,000 and up. Again, such figures may be different in each jurisdiction. However, 1st degree grand theft charges are usually very, very serious cases that require prosecution through the use of a grand jury. Penalties and sentencing for theft therefore may depend on the total amount stolen.
As a felony charge, grand theft will result in felony sentences, including criminal fines of greater than $1,000, and a prison sentence of more than one year in a federal facility. Felony charges are somewhat difficult to have expunged from one’s criminal record. The existence of such charges on one’s record may make it difficult for the person to obtain employment or be accepted in certain applications.
In some cases, a defense such as coercion may be available to the defendant, depending on the facts of the circumstances. Also, it may be possible to reduce a felony charge to a misdemeanor theft charge, again depending on the facts.
Grand theft charges are various serious, and grand theft laws may vary from place to place. For these reasons, it’s in your best interests to hire an experienced criminal lawyer in your area if you or a loved one of yours is facing grand theft charges. Your attorney will be able to provide you with the legal representation needed for your defense.