Theft crimes range from simple petit theft punishable by up to 60 days in jail, to first degree felonies. If the value of the stolen item or items is over $300, it is a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. If the value is over $100,000 you can be charged with a first degree felony punishable by 30 years in prison. Grand Theft Auto is a third degree felony, regardless of the value of the car. Theft of firearms are third degree felonies. Juveniles who steal cars and cause an accident will almost always be tried as adults, especially if the accident causes any kind of bodily injury to another person. Theft crimes, even misdemeanors, often lead to jail or prison time.
If you have been charged with a theft, the value of the property stolen determines whether you are charged with a felony or misdemeanor. (Usually – see exceptions below.)
- If the value of the property stolen is under $300 then the charge will most likely be a second degree misdemeanor for a first offense (first degree misdemeanor for a second offense, third degree felony for third offense).
- If the value of the property is over $300 but under $20,000 it is a third degree felony. Third degree felony grand thefts have different levels depending upon the amount stolen.
- It is a third degree felony to steal a car, will, or fire extinguisher.
- More than $20,000 but less than $100,000 it is a second degree felony.
- If over $100,000 it is a first degree felony.
Of course there are exceptions to these rules – for example:
- If you steal a firearm, stop sign, a cow, or a fire extinguisher, it is a third degree felony.
- Or if you damage property in excess of $1,000 while committing the theft it is a first degree felony
- If there is a STATE OF EMERGENCY declared all theft crimes go up a degree.
- A conviction for petit theft requires the Court to suspend your driver’s license for 6 months for the first offense, 1 year, for the second.
- If you damage property or hurt anyone or use a firearm during the crime, the penalties are severe.
- Juveniles who have prior adjudications (formal convictions) are often prosecuted as adults. Especially for Grand Theft Auto.