Beyond the fact that the law stipulates that stealing is illegal, a surprising number of citizens don’t know the applications and criteria of petty theft versus grand theft. Examining, comparing and contrasting the two will give a comprehensive understanding for anyone who needs clarification.
The following information is provided as a reference only, contact a Dallas Felony attorney where required.
Grand theft is the unauthorized stealing of property of a certain value. The threshold dollar amount at which theft is classified as grand theft differs across state governments, as do the considerations of the various other circumstances surrounding the crime such as the use of force. Most people think of grand theft auto, or the stealing of a car, when they hear the term, but it can apply to anything at or above the threshold dollar amount. Often times there have been extenuating circumstances in which the plaintiff and defendant had a relationship or a prior agreement that went awry, or that a monetary value of the stolen property could not be determined. The general premise, however, remains the same: the word “grand” marks grand theft as more severe than petty theft, warranting felony charges and longer sentences.
Petty theft is often dismissed as a lesser crime, simply because the items that are stolen are almost always of lesser value than with grand theft. There are a number of pretenses that accompany the charge of petty theft once it has been raised. First, as it is distinct from burglary, petty theft involves the unlawful stealing from an establishment when one is permitted to be there. This can be a retail store, house, or anywhere else. If forceful or otherwise unlawful entry onto the premises were an element of the crime, the charge would be burglary. Although it isn’t universal, a very common threshold for petty theft is any item or items amounting to $ 500 or less.
Similarities and Differences
Both instances involve the same premise: the unlawful stealing of an object or objects, with the obvious difference being the issue of monetary value. Both grand theft and petty theft are charges issued at the discretion of the presiding governing body, whether that be a judge, jury, or a combination. This means that individuals who committed petty theft while also committing another heinous, violent act may be charged for grand theft. Conversely, extenuating circumstances can allow for someone who committed grand theft to be charged with petty theft. Essentially, both charges are similar in their premises and the fact that they can be used flexibly, while different in their application and specified criteria.
Provided by the Law Offices of Michael Lowe – Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney.