According to Belmont University, “petty theft refers to a criminal act in which property belonging to another is taken without that person’s consent. The term ‘theft’ is sometimes used synonymously with larceny which is the unauthorized taking and removal of the personal property of another by an individual who intends to permanently deprive the owner of it; a crime against the right of possession. Larceny generally refers to nonviolent theft and is usually a misdemeanor.” The word ‘petty’ implies that while still a crime, the property stolen has a value of less than $200 dollars, whereas the property stolen by those charged with felony larceny, has a value of $20,000 or more. Though there could be slight variations to the sum depending on the state.
How Does Michigan Law Punish Petty or ‘Petit’ Theft?
Petty theft, originally, petit theft, meaning small theft, is punished less severely. Meaning that a teenager who steals candy or some other goods from a convenience store will likely not be penalized as severely as a repeated offender or a thief who conducts a heist or a large financial scheme. Clearly, the laws have evolved and a legal consensus of the opinion that these individuals and the crimes they have committed, must be evaluated and punished through different means. In the state of Michigan, for instance, according to the Michigan Legislature, “the person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 10 years or a fine of not more than $15,000.00 or 3 times the value of the property stolen, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine:(a) The property stolen has a value of $20,000.00 or more. (b) The person violates subsection (3)(a) and has 2 or more prior convictions for committing or attempting to commit an offense under this section. For purposes of this subdivision, however, a prior conviction does not include a conviction for a violation or attempted violation of subsection (4)(b) or (5).” Whereas, “If the property stolen has a value of less than $200.00, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $500.00 or 3 times the value of the property stolen, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine.”
In What Ways Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Help Fight Your Petty Theft Charge?
There are a myriad of means through which a criminal defense attorney can tackle your charge. The legal strategy they assume will largely depend on the specific circumstances surrounding your case, and any available evidence that can support your cause as a plaintiff. If you are an upstanding citizen with a clean track record, and/or happen to be experiencing strenuous circumstances, an attorney will take all of that into account when preparing your defense. If you or someone you know has recently been charged with petty theft, consider reaching out to a criminal defense attorney in Traverse City, Michigan at the Neumann Law Group at (231) 221-0050.