What is theft in Missouri?

Theft is a commonly known crime. Almost every person understands that taking something that is not theirs is wrong. This concept is taught to us at a very young age. A generic common law definition of theft could be expressed as, the taking and carrying away property of another with the intent to permanently deprive that person of the property. Some states may choose to follow the common law. Thus, choosing to apply the common law definition. Other states will have their own variation of what theft means. However, these definitions are very similar to the common law definition.

Here, theft in Missouri is expressed as follows:

A person commits the crime of stealing if he or she appropriates property or services of another with the purpose to deprive him or her thereof, either without his or her consent or by means of deceit or coercion. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 570.030(1).

As we continue this discussion, we will discuss how one is convicted of theft in Missouri by breaking down each element of the crime. Breaking it down by element will allow us to understand how one is charged after they have met every element of the crime. Also there are different types of theft crimes based on the circumstances surrounding the crime.

What are the different types of theft?

There are different types of theft in Missouri based upon the circumstances surrounding the theft. Depending on how the theft was committed and what was involved in the theft, the property, will determine the penalty. Missouri theft is broken down into different classes of crimes. These crimes go from Class A to Class D crimes. Also, depending on which class you are charged with will determine whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony. For example, Class A crimes are misdemeanors while the rest of the classes are felonies.

Elements of the various types of thefts

The elements for each Class from A to D will be discussed. To start, Class A is a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is a lesser crime than a felony. Usually, this will involve a less serious crime and a smaller penalty than a felony. A Class A misdemeanor involves a theft or receiving any property that is valued at less than $500. Also, if there is a theft that does not have a specific classification under the statute, it will be considered a Class A Felony. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 570.030.

Class B is the first theft that will be considered a felony. Theft in Missouri will be considered a Class B theft if the value of the property or services equals or exceeds $25,000. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 570.030(7). It will also be considered Class B under the following four situations:

  1. The property appropriated consists of liquid nitrogen.
  2. The property stolen consists of any captive wildlife.
  3. A person steal property that consists of a motor vehicle, watercraft, or aircraft.
  4. The property stolen consists of livestock exceeding $10,000. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 570.030(3).

A Class C Missouri Theft is classified as stolen property or services valued at more than $500 but less than $25,000 or the actor physically takes the property. The last way to be charged with a theft in Missouri under Class C is if the property appropriated consists of one of the following:

  • Any motor vehicle, watercraft or aircraft; or
  • Any will or unrecorded deed affecting real property; or
  • Any credit card or letter of credit; or
  • Any firearms

The four bullets points above are a small example of the numerous ways you can be charged with a Class C felony. The part of this statute and the rest of the list can be found at Mo. Rev. Stat. § 570.030.

Class D felonies usually involve repeat offenders. This means that they have been charged with a theft on a prior occasion. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 570.040.

Potential penalties if convicted of a theft crime

The punishment terms for a theft in Missouri vary based on the class that you are charged under. Time spent incarcerated can be anywhere from a few weeks to 15 years in prison. This is usually aligned with the amount of times you have been previously convicted, and the property stolen.

Fines will also vary based on the class that you are charged under. They can be anywhere from $0 to $5,000. Penalties are fact specific inquiries that will be different based on factors that will be analyzed by both judge and jury.

Why using a Criminal Defense Attorney is Important?

Walking into the legal system as a lay person can be overwhelming to say the least. The new words being used around you, the lawyers, judges, and atmosphere can be very uncomfortable. Not only that but the threat of being charged with a theft in Missouri constituting either a misdemeanor or a felony. These few reasons show the importance of having a criminal defense attorney, because an attorney can pacify you in this discomforting setting and give you the legal advice that you need.theft in Missouri

Using a criminal defense attorney can be imperative to you in receiving a lesser sentence. Missouri legal has defended many individuals. They understand how to counsel with you and advocate for your position. Having someone who is experienced and understands the law, is crucial in promoting your case.

Experienced criminal defense attorneys know the Missouri theft statutes and how they are applied in a practical in court manner. They are able to understand the law and then apply it to your individual theft case so you can receive the best outcome. Theft in Missouri is defined in various ways, as discussed above, which is why it is important to find a competent attorney to assist you in protecting your freedom.

What a Criminal Defense Attorney can do for you after being charged with theft?

After being charged with theft, you will need to follow proper procedures in the legal system. An attorney can assist you in understanding the process and filing responses to opposing counsel. Filing and meeting deadlines is necessary to be heard fully in a case. They can also offer advice that is necessary in a criminal case. This advice could be given during a plea bargain, whether testifying in a jury trial is wise, or at other crucial parts of the case.

Missouri legal knows and understands how to best serve their clients. Seeking their advice and counsel can be crucial to you having your voice heard in court. They can also help you make the best decisions so that the future will be bright and promising.

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