Theft, Burglary, Criminal Mischief / Vandalism
Theft charges can range from a Class C Misdemeanor (up to a $500 fine) to a First Degree Felony (up to 99 years or life and a $10,000 fine). Punishments are more severe if the victim is elderly or disabled.
ANY THEFT CONVICTION CAN ALTER YOU LIFE: Because theft is a crime of “moral turpitude”, future potential employers will often be very reluctant to trust someone with any kind of theft conviction. A conviction can also effect being admitted to colleges or obtaining financial aid. Lastly, many professions like medicine, law, and public accountancy often bar persons with theft convictions.
Burglary occurs when a person illegally enters a habitation (residence), building, vehicle or other type of property with the intent to commit theft or any felony offense. The prosecutor only has to prove INTENT not whether a person actually commits theft or a felony.
Burglary of a habitation is considered more serious than burglary of a building because a habitation is a person’s home and there is an expectation that one will be safe inside one’s own home, and therefore is punished more harshly than burglary of a building or a vehicle.
A BURGLARY CONVICTION CAN ALTER YOU LIFE: Because burglary is a crime of “moral turpitude”, future potential employers will often be very reluctant to trust someone with any kind of burglary conviction. A conviction can also effect being admitted to colleges or obtaining financial aid. Lastly, many professions like medicine, law, and public accountancy often bar persons with burglary convictions.
Warning: Burglaries involving the use or exhibiting a deadly weapon exposes the defendant to more severe penalties and can delay eligibility for parole if convicted.
CRIMINAL MISCHIEF / VANDALISM
“Criminal Mischief” used to be called “Vandalism”, which means that a person is accused of damaging or destroying property of another.
Criminal Mischief sounds like a harmless prank, but it can be serious especially if the damage is substantial. Penalties range from a simple fine up to $500 to life in prison and a $10,000 fine and various punishment in between depending on the value of the damage.
Some acts of Criminal mischief can be charged as a felony regardless of the dollar amount. (For example, if the property damages is someone’s home, and the damage is caused by a firearm or explosive weapon. This offense will become a state-jail felony punishable by 6 months to 2 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine even if the property damage is small.)