People are very protective of their belongings, so the law protects citizens from others who intentionally take their property without permission, especially if they are stealing property to turn a profit. For this reason, these types of cases are often severely prosecuted, which means that you could face major restrictions to your rights and freedom if convicted. You need an attorney with experience in gathering evidence and developing legal strategies that have led to the preferred outcome for their clients. Certainly, you want an attorney who develops a strong case on your behalf and protects you from prosecutors. At Kirsch & Kirsch, LLC, we fight to protect our clients’ futures. The following information is meant to give you background so that you have a better idea of what to expect going forward.
What is the legal definition of stealing?
Stealing is the most common within this very common set of cases. In Missouri, stealing is taking something without the owner’s consent and with the intent to deprive the owner of it for good. Stealing may also be charged based on depriving someone of services or property by coercion or deceit. While stealing charges are often misdemeanors, there are many ways in which stealing can be charged as a felony.
Robbery is using force to steal from someone and causing injury, this constitutes second-degree robbery. First-degree robbery is forcibly stealing and causing serious injury or using a weapon or the threat of a weapon. It is common to hear phrases like “a house was robbed,” but as you can see, generally, it is people who are robbed, and houses are burglarized. Missouri recently added an exception to this general rule, stealing controlled substances from a pharmacy is now considered “robbery.”
Theft, Burglary, Robbery: Distinctions in Terms
The law treats theft (larceny), burglary, and robbery differently, even though people use those words interchangeably in real life. Theft is taking away another person’s property, either temporarily or permanently, depriving them of their right to use it or benefit from it. However, burglary is when you break into a structure with the intent to commit larceny and is often referred to as “breaking and entering.” The difference between theft and burglary illustrated in an example would be stealing an energy drink from a convenience store during its open hours versus breaking into that same convenience store at two in the morning to steal cigarettes, lottery tickets, or cash. Because burglary involves entering a dwelling or building with criminal intent, this type of crime tends to come with serious penalties.
Robbery also involves taking away a person’s property, but unlike theft, the property is taken through the threat of force or by the use of force. Using the same convenience store example, a robbery would be when someone holds up that same convenience store with a weapon and demands all the cash in the register. Each of these charges comes with a different penalty.
Can I be accused of burglary even if I didn’t steal anything?
Yes, it is possible to face burglary charges if the prosecution can prove that you had a criminal intent while committing the burglary.
There are numerous defenses to burglary. For instance, sometimes after a person entered the home of another person who they know intimately, such as an ex-spouse, a dispute arises. It’s not uncommon for issues between people to become difficult to the point where the police are called. The homeowner can claim that the other person did not have consent to enter their home and attempted to take back property that was legally theirs. This frequently happens in domestic situations. It is your attorney’s job to negotiate and advocate on your behalf.
If I didn’t return something that I borrowed with consent, will I be penalized?
In these types of cases, criminal intent is an important factor in the success of your claim. The law is not intended to seek out and penalize genuinely good people who made an honest mistake or forgot. But if you borrowed something and you never intended to return it, then you could face a larceny conviction.
What is considered grand theft in the state of Missouri?
In the state of Missouri, grand theft is stealing someone else’s property that is equal to or worth more than $950.
Why do I need to hire an attorney for my case?
When the prosecutor sees that you do not have an intrepid and experienced attorney representing you, then they know that they are working with someone who is not familiar with the laws or the legal system. This means that they have a significant advantage over the average person who very likely does not have the same legal knowledge as the prosecutor. Instead of putting yourself at a major disadvantage, call Kirsch & Kirsch, LLC for representation for your theft crime arrest in Missouri.
Consequences for Theft
People are too often put under the impression that misdemeanors are not a big deal. It is true that misdemeanors do not have the same severe consequences as felonies. However, they are not without consequence. Stealing charges are considered by employers, schools and can destroy a reputation. Do not be complacent when it comes to such a charge. We try cases; if you have a stealing case that needs a strong defense or needs to go to trial, call us right now.
Burglary in the second degree is trespass (unlawful entry or remaining unlawfully) with the intent to commit a crime in a home or building. Second-degree burglary is a D felony, which means it carries up to seven years in prison. First-degree burglary, means someone is home during the burglary, someone is hurt or threatened, or someone who is committing the burglary is armed. This is a B felony, which means it carries up to fifteen years in prison. Regardless of the degree, burglary charges are taken incredibly seriously because they generally involve entering someone’s home.
Often, and unfortunately, stealing charges are the result of substance abuse or mental health issues. However, there is a myriad of ways someone could end up with these charges. Whatever the cause for the charges, the attorneys at Kirsch & Kirsch have the experience and trial skills to defend you, no matter what stealing charge you or your loved one are facing. Call us as soon as you want to launch your strong defense. Stealing offenses and related charges are some of the most common cases we defend. That does not, however, mean any two cases are the same. We have the experience to launch your defense no matter which of the stealing offenses you are facing.
Class B Felony Theft
The state of Missouri will prosecute a person who commits a class B felony by stealing property that contains anhydrous ammonia. This chemical is the basis for all nitrogen fertilizers. Nitrogen is captured from the air and mixed in a chemical process with hydrogen to make a fertilizer that is essential for growing plants. But anhydrous ammonia is also a main ingredient for cooking methamphetamine, so it is heavily regulated at both the federal and state level. In order to even transport it, you must have a commercial driver’s license and show that you are both trained and competent in the safe operation and use of anhydrous ammonia.
Why Choose Kirsch & Kirsch, LLC
Timing is important after an arrest, so it is imperative that you contact our criminal defense law firm in Jefferson City, Missouri as soon as possible. You do not have to face the criminal process alone. We are ready to handle your case and to make you a priority. Stealing charges and related offenses are some of the most common cases we defend. That does not, however, mean any two cases are the same. We have the experience to mount your defense no matter which of the stealing offenses you are facing.
This is not assembly line representation
The outset of a criminal investigation or charge is one of the most important times to talk to a lawyer. The increasing power of the state has led to a trend of defendants pleading guilty to crimes they did not commit. As a result, all too often, the criminal courts turn into an assembly line from charge to guilty plea. This is an affront to the very principles of the rule of law.
We are here to say that a defendant is not guilty simply because he or she is charged. What if that defendant had a criminal defense lawyer who wanted no part of such a system? What if that defendant had an attorney that says to the prosecutor, “no, my client is not guilty, and I believe twelve members of our community will agree”? What if you had that attorney, and he never put you in a position to pay more attorney fees for your right to a trial or plead guilty because it’s cheaper? What if that attorney did not charge for jury trials? Our criminal defense attorneys are dedicated advocates. They will not take the easy way out. They will fight for you every step of the way and will never charge a criminal defendant more attorneys’ fees for a jury trial.