Those accused of grand larceny in Portland, Maine are likely confused and concerned. You have multiple options when charged with a crime, which include negotiating a plea agreement or contesting the charges at trial. The decision as to how to proceed is important so we have set forth below certain information you need to know.
What is Grand Larceny?
Simply stated, larceny is a legal term for theft and occurs when property is taken unlawfully without force. Grand larceny applies when the value of the property exceeds certain minimums. Maine has multiple classifications of larceny charges based on the value of the property. The most serious larceny charge is a Class B felony, which applies when value of the property exceeds than $10,00 or when an explosive device or firearm is stolen. It also applies if a person is armed with a weapon at the time of the crime. Larceny of items valued between $1000 and $10,000 is a Class C felony. Finally, it is a Class D misdemeanor when the value of the property is less than $1000.
In order to prove larceny, the prosecution must show that the defendant intended to permanently take property without the owner’s consent. The following important facts to a criminal defense attorney in defending a larceny charge.
Ownership of Property
A question of ownership may occur in some cases. There may be no theft if the accused actually owns property which is temporarily in possession of another. If ownership is in doubt, the court will seek to ascertain who is the lawful owner of the property. However, one may be charged with larceny when depriving someone of property that he or she co-owns with another. For example, let’s say a couple bought a car together and are both on the title. If the couple breaks up and one party relocates to a new state with the vehicle without the consent of the other person, this could charged as larceny or theft.
The defendant’s intent is an important issue since larceny only occurs if the taker intends to permanently deprive the owner of the property. Taking property with the intent to give it back is not larceny; nor is taking something that a person thinks belongs to him or her.
Number of Charges
When multiple items are taken during a single incident in Maine, it is ordinarily charged in a single count as one theft. This means there will be one charge instead of several for each item taken. However, the value of items taken are added together, which will result in a felony charge if the total exceeds $1000.
Possible Punishments for Theft
Grand larceny is likely to be charged as a Class B or Class C crime. Both are felonies in Portland, Maine and a Class C offenses carries a penalty oft up to five years in jail while conviction for Class B felony carries a penalty of up to 10 years in jail. If a sentence is more than 9 months, the inmate goes to the Department of Corrections prison instead of a county jail. Other factors may effect play a role in sentencing are whether a weapon was involved and/or whether the person has any prior convictions. Fines of up to $5,000 for a Class C crime and up to $20,000 for Class B crime may also be assessed.
Grand larceny is a serious charge that may have serious consequences if one is convicted. Anyone facing a felony theft charge may benefit from consulting with an attorney. An attorney can help one negotiate a plea bargain for a lesser sentence or probation, and/or assist in assessing whether to take a case to trial. For more information about larceny and other criminal charges, contact us today.