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What are the most common types of theft charges in Maine?

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There are many different circumstances that may lead to a charge of theft. They are generally broken into classifications and include the following:

  • Theft by unauthorized taking or transfer – What most people think of when they hear theft, this involves taking something that does not belong to you or taking an item without paying for it.
  • Theft by deception – This can involve many things including cons or soliciting donations for personal gain.
  • Theft by receiving stolen property – If you except items that you know to be stolen or have some reason to believe that they were stolen, you can also be charged with theft.
  • Theft of services – Just like physical items, services can be stolen if they were performed and there was never an intention to compensate for them.
  • Unauthorized use of property – Using items, land or services that do not belong to you is a crime just like any other type of theft.
  • Theft by use of force or fear, also known as robbery – You do not have to use a weapon to commit robbery, any type of real or implied violence can be considered force.

The penalties for theft are dependent upon the value of the property taken, surrounding circumstances of the alleged crime, and the defendant’s criminal record. The two most common levels of theft include petty theft and grand theft. While one is more serious than the other, both can have serious consequences if you are convicted.

PETTY THEFT CHARGES

If the stolen property is valued at less than $500, the crime is considered to be petty theft. Shoplifting often falls under this category when the taken property is below this value.

If the defendant has a clean criminal record when they are arrested for petty theft, they will be charged with a misdemeanor, and the judge will probably use “deferred judgment.”

In these situations, if the defendant agrees to plead guilty, pay all fines, and submit to probation for up to 3 years, their record can be expunged. This is not always the case though and there are no guarantees as to what the outcome of your case will be.

GRAND THEFT CHARGES

If the property stolen is valued to be more than $500, the defendant could be charged with grand theft. This type of theft is most often charged as a serious crime.

It can include such things as credit card fraud, identity fraud or theft, and theft of a variety of goods, property, and services.

Depending on the circumstances of the crime and the value of the property taken, conviction for felony grand theft can result in fines of $2000 to $20,000 and 1 to 10 years in prison.

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