Understanding Criminal Theft Charges in Missouri

High rates of unemployment, foreclosures and delays in financial relief from the government have created a heightened sense of desperation and an increase in crime levels nationwide. If you are facing theft charges, it is important to understand the law.

Defining Theft Under Missouri Law

A person commits theft under Missouri law by obtaining the property or services of another, with the intent to deprive the owner, without consent, or by deceit or coercion. In other words, you commit theft by taking something that doesn’t belong to you, if at the time of the offense you have no intention of returning the property.

Classifications of Offenses Under Missouri Law

  • Class A Misdemeanor: If the value of the property or services stolen is less than $500, the theft is a class A misdemeanor under Missouri law.
  • Class B Felony Theft: Under Missouri law, theft constitutes a class B felony if the value of the property or services stolen is $25,000 or more.
  • Class C Felony Theft: Theft is classified as a class C felony if it involves property valued at $500 or more, an explosive weapon, or if the offender is a dealer in the type of stolen goods involved.
  • Class D Felony Theft: It is a class D felony if a person steals an animal belonging to another person. A theft is also a class D felony if, within the previous 10 years, the offender has two or more convictions for theft-related offenses that occurred on separate occasions.

A High Price to Pay

Depending on the crime, guilty parties can receive anywhere from a $1,000 fine to fifteen years in prison. However, if you contact a criminal defense lawyer soon enough, you may be able to avoid criminal charges.

The attorneys of Missouri’s Meehan Law Firm represent individuals who are charged with property or theft crime. If you suspect your employer, a neighbor or other individual may charge you with property crime, contact the Meehan Law Firm immediately.

Sources: http://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/criminal-defense/crime-penalties/petty-theft-missouri-penalties-defense