Theft, Burglary, Criminal Mischief / Vandalism

Theft

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

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.)