Allegations that you deprived someone else of the use of their property without consent can harm your personal and professional reputation even if you are never convicted of any actual crime. If theft charges do end with a conviction, you could wind up facing significant jail or prison time, monetary fines, and potentially the loss of certain civil rights due to your newfound felony record.
Fortunately, there are ways of effectively contesting accusations of this nature with help from a Florence theft lawyer. By seeking representation from a seasoned defense attorney who has spent many years working similar cases, you could dramatically boost your odds of a good final outcome for your situation.
Degrees of Theft Under State Law
According to Kentucky Revised Statutes § 514.030, a person commits criminal theft if they knowingly take or exercise control over someone else’s property while intending to deprive the owner of that property’s use or value, benefit themselves or another affiliated party, or both at the same time. As per K.R.S. § 514.010(1), “depriving” someone of their property can mean (1) withholding it for such a period of time that it loses significant financial value; (2) holding it from them unless the owner provides some form of compensation to get it back; or (3) disposing of it in a way that makes it unlikely the original owner will ever recover it.
Effective June 29, 2021, the Kentucky Penal Code began to distinguish between various degrees of theft differently than it used to, allowing for more distinction between misdemeanor and felony offenses of this type. The new division between levels of theft, generally based around the total value of items or property taken, are as follows:
- Less than $500 worth of property – a Class B misdemeanor
- Between $500 and $1,000 worth of property – a Class A misdemeanor
- Between $1,000 and $10,000 worth of property, or any firearm or amount of a controlled substance worth less than $10,000 – a Class D felony
- Between $10,000 and $1,000,000 – a Class C felony
- Over $1,000,000 – a Class B felony
Additionally, if someone has been convicted three times or more of Class A misdemeanor theft within a five-year period, their fourth and subsequent convictions for that offense would be considered Class D felonies. A Florence theft attorney could provide irreplaceable guidance in contesting charges filed at any level.
Contesting Theft Allegations
K.R.S. § 514.020 outlines three affirmative defenses to theft charges. In accordance with this section of state law, a person cannot be convicted if they were earnestly unaware that the property in question belonged to someone else; if they believed in good faith that they had a right to acquire or dispose of that property; or if they took property displayed for sale while intending to pay for it and reasonably believed the property’s owner would consent to their temporary action. A theft attorney in Florence could discuss these defenses in more detail and potentially work to incorporate them into a comprehensive defense strategy.
Talk to a Florence Theft Attorney About Legal Options
Fighting back against assertions that you stole property or services of any kind can be a challenging ordeal, especially without professional legal guidance to help you. Law enforcement authorities take crimes of this nature very seriously, so you could be at a disadvantage if you try to defend yourself without representation.
Help is available from a highly experienced Florence theft lawyer no matter what kind of theft charges you are facing. Call today to learn more.