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Maine Theft Defense Lawyer

What Crimes are Considered Theft in Maine?

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Defense Attorney Serving Portland, Bangor, Augusta, Biddeford and Saco Regions

Theft is basically, the act of taking something that does not belong to you. The term theft is very general and is used to describe many acts. In order for an offense to be charged as theft, two key elements must be proven.

  1. The defendant took someone else's property.
  2. The defendant intended on taking the property and did not plan on returning it.
These requirements, especially the latter, give defense attorneys an edge. While it can likely be hard to argue that a stolen item found in an offender's possession was taken, the intent can be questioned. For example, if someone has their hands full in a store and slips an item into their pocket to carry it but forgets to pay. It can be argued that they did take the item but did not intend on doing so and even planned on returning it to the store to pay for it later.
 
Thefts can happen in a lot of different ways and can vary in seriousness mostly based on the item stolen. Common types of theft crimes include burglary, shoplifting, grand theft auto, and robbery.

Theft Crimes in Maine

A criminal charge of any kind can carry serious consequences. One very common type of criminal charge is for theft. Theft is the criminal act of taking something of any value without lawful reason and against the will of the owner, with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property taken. There are many different circumstances that may lead to a charge of theft. They are generally broken into classifications and include the following:

  • Theft by unauthorized taking or transfer – What most people think of when they hear theft, this involves taking something that does not belong to you or taking an item without paying for it.
  • Theft by deception – This can involve many things including cons or soliciting donations for personal gain.
  • Theft by receiving stolen property – If you except items that you know to be stolen or have some reason to believe that they were stolen, you can also be charged with theft.
  • Theft of services – Just like physical items, services can be stolen if they were performed and there was never an intention to compensate for them.
  • Unauthorized use of property – Using items, land or services that do not belong to you is a crime just like any other type of theft.
  • Theft by use of force or fear, also known as robbery – You do not have to use a weapon to commit robbery, any type of real or implied violence can be considered force.

There is even a special provision in Maine's laws that prohibits anyone from recording with an audio or visual device during a movie in a theater without written consent from the film's producers. If you are convicted of this, you could face a Class D charge and $1,000 in fines of six months in jail. In some situations, your charges may have arisen from a misunderstanding or accident. A charge under any of these classifications can carry harsh penalties including jail time and steep fees. If you have been accused of a theft of any kind, you will want to make sure you have the best legal defense possible.

Penalties for Theft in Maine

The penalties for theft are dependent upon the value of the property taken, surrounding circumstances of the alleged crime, and the defendant's criminal record. The two most common levels of theft include petty theft and grand theft. While one is more serious than the other, both can have serious consequences if you are convicted.

Petty Theft: If the stolen property is valued at less than $500, the crime is considered to be a petty theft. Shoplifting often falls under this category when the taken property is below this value. If the defendant has a clean criminal record when they are arrested for petty theft, they will be charged with a misdemeanor, and the judge will probably use "deferred judgment." In these situations, if the defendant agrees to plead guilty, pay all fines, and submit to probation for up to 3 years, their record can be expunged. This is not always the case though and there are no guarantees as to what the outcome of your case will be.

Grand Theft: If the property stolen is valued to be more than $500, the defendant could be charged with grand theft. This type of theft is most often charged as a serious crime. It can include such things as credit card fraud, identity fraud or theft, and theft of a variety of goods, property, and services. Depending on the circumstances of the crime and the value of the property taken, conviction for felony grand theft can result in fines of $2000 to $20,000 and 1 to 10 years in prison.

Have you been accused of a theft crime? You need an experienced attorney you can trust. Contact our offices today to learn how we can help you!

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