Theft By Unauthorized Taking or Transfer

207-571-8146

Defense Attorney

Serving all of Maine Including Portland, Bangor, Augusta, Saco and Biddeford 

Pretty much everyone has a fairly good idea of what a theft is. It's taking something that isn't yours. However, there are lots of different ways that this can happen, from pocketing a stick of gum at the convenience store on Main Street, to embezzling millions of dollars of investments on Wall Street. You say that one is far worse than the other, or that it sure doesn't seem like it's illegal to steal, if you're the Wall Street broker. Both of these issues bring up the fact that theft is surprisingly complex.

According to the laws in Maine, theft is “obtaining or exercising unauthorized control over the property of another with intent to deprive the other person of the property.” While this seems like the legalese way of saying what everyone already knew about theft, the vague words used in Maine's laws open lots of doors, and makes a lot of things fit into the broad category of “theft.”

Out of the numerous ways that theft can happen, theft by unlawful taking or transfer is the most basic. This is what was formerly known in Maine as larceny, or embezzlement. It's a kind of “catch-all” type of theft that includes acts that don't seem to fit in more specific forms of the crime, like petty theft and shoplifting.

Penalties

The criminal penalties for convictions for theft by unlawful taking or transfer depend on the value of the property that was stolen.

 

Class of Crime

Value of Property

Jail Time

Fines

Statute

Class E

Misdemeanor

Under $500

Up to 6 months

Up to $1,000

17A §353(1)(A)

Class D

Misdemeanor

$500 - $1,000

Up to 1 year

Up to $2,000

17A §353(1)(B)(5)

Class C

Felony

$1,000 - $10,000

Up to 5 years

Up to $5,000

17A §353(1)(B)(4)

Class B

Felony

Over $10,000

Up to 10 years

Up to $20,000

17A §353(1)(B)(1)-(3)

Of course, this raises an interesting point on the “value” of what was stolen. The basic rule that Maine uses to determine the value of a stolen item is to look at its market value. This is how much that item would sell for. This prevents someone from claiming that the “I Love NYC” bracelet that they lost was some “family heirloom” that is “priceless, or at least worth millions.” If the market value of the stolen property is $5, then the law sees it as worth $5.

As you can see, the range of penalties varies widely, and is all based on the value of the property stolen. At one end of the scale is petty theft – which covers property valued under $500. Most theft crimes fall at or near this end of the spectrum. At the other end are felony theft crimes, where the property was worth more than $10,000.

Unfortunately, these aren't the only penalties that you can face, if you are convicted for theft by unlawful taking or transfer. Because it's a property crime, you could also face civil charges by the property's owner, as they try to sue you for the retail value of the goods. In addition to the price of the property, they can also go after you for a civil penalty of three times the retail value, up to $500.

The penalties also increase if the charge is for petty crime, but you've had two or more theft-related convictions in the past, either in Maine, or elsewhere. Additionally, if the property stolen was a gun or an explosive, or if a gun was used in the theft, then it automatically becomes a felony-level offense, regardless of the value of the property taken.

How Criminal Defense Attorneys Defend Against Theft Charges

Regardless of how innocent you may seem, hiring a solid, experienced criminal defense attorney can easily be the best thing you can do, once you've been charged with theft by unlawful taking or transfer.

Criminal defense attorneys, such as William T. Bly, have extensive experience and training and will work to achieve the best case scenario. While this may seem easy to some, in reality very few people are aware of what, exactly, the prosecutor has to prove during trial. Mr. Bly's thorough understanding of criminal law has given him a nuanced knowledge of precisely what the prosecutor needs to show a judge and jury. This allows him to look at the prosecutor's case, and pick apart its weakest elements until a conviction is impossible.

Here are just a few of the ways that Mr. Bly has successfully fought a case in trial:

Factual Issues

Who actually took the property? If they say that it was you, how do they know that? Are there other people who also wanted it? Maybe it was actually them. If it clearly was you, did you intend to return it? Did you think it lawfully belonged to you? These might all seem like simple, basic questions that law enforcement and the prosecution team should have the answers to, but it often comes to light that they don't. Even if they think they do, they still have to prove it in court, and have to show that they have the right facts beyond a reasonable doubt.

Evidentiary Issues

Oftentimes, court cases come down to one, single, piece of evidence. This can be a fingerprint that one side can't explain, a witness that saw it all, or a confession during a police interrogation. These pieces of evidence look formidable. But smart criminal defense attorneys know how to tackle them, and experienced defense lawyers have done it countless times in the past. Mr. Bly has both the knowledge to understand exactly how to impeach a witness to show that they're lying, and has the experience to see all of the signs that say the police coerced a confession to make it involuntary and worthless.

Past clients agree that criminal defense attorney William T. Bly is one of the best in the state of Maine. He also has a track record to prove it. Call his law office if you've been charged with theft by unauthorized taking or transfer today: (207) 571-8146.

WTB Law

Here at WTB Law, we provide professional and aggressive criminal defense representation that exceeds the expectations of our clients and secures their freedom and their future.

Contact Us Today

What distinguishes our firm from the numerous law firms throughout the state is that we genuinely care about the well-being of our clients. Because Attorney Bly is a sole practitioner, every client receives hands-on and personalized attention from Attorney Bly and our staff throughout the entirety of their case.

50 Adams Street
Biddeford, ME 04005
(207) 571-8146
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri: 08:00am - 05:00pm

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