Understanding Theft Law
The statutes on criminal law in West Virginia refer to theft commonly as larceny. This type of offense occurs when an individual takes anything belonging to someone else without their prior permission. On most occasions the offense is committed with the intention of hurting or denying the property owner of their things. According to West Virginia code §61, there are four major types of larceny including theft of bank information, embezzlement, buying or transporting stolen items, and gaining monetary goods or possessions through deceptive actions.
Forms of Larceny
When an individual is charged with stealing pertinent bank notes, checks, account information or other valuable documents it can be considered petit or grand larceny depending upon the value. The worth of the stolen item is to be determined by the money that was available but remained unsatisfied due to the theft. Any amount of financial value that the property stolen has cost the victim must also be accounted.
Embezzlement occurs when the offender steals from someone else with whom they were entrusted to manage their money or possessions. This can occur in a variety of cases including banks, business, and other work situations where the individual helps themselves to assets that are not their own, thereby breaking their position of trust.
Receiving or transferring goods that have been previously stolen through fraud, larceny, embezzlement or some other form of theft is considered an illegal action. The condition is that the offender must have known the item was a stolen product before they purchase or transported the goods. Often times this may be difficult to prove and with the increase in online internet sales between complete strangers, these types of transactions are on the rise.
Obtaining material goods, services or money through false pretenses means that the offender has purposefully misrepresented important information in order to attain what they want. This can include selling property that is not legally yours and other forms of fraudulent behavior that cheats others from their rightful money and property.
Penalties vary depending upon the nature of the offense which determines if it was a misdemeanor or a felony. Any form of theft regarding items or services valued under $1,000 can qualify as a misdemeanor or petit larceny. The consequences can include a maximum prison sentence of one year or a fine of no more than $2,500 and in some cases both depending on the court's judgment.
Felonies are also referred to as grand larceny and they cover theft of any goods and services over $1,000 in value. When a felony is committed it is considered a serious offense and can result in no less than one year with a maximum of ten years in prison with a fine up to $2,500. The judge may sentence the offender to a less amount of time in jail if he so decides.
Having a lawyer to help decipher the legal process can not only be extremely helpful, but could mean all the difference in determining your future freedom. If you have been charged with theft crime, a qualified legal representative like Attorney Frank Walker can fight for your rights. It can be tricky to procure evidence and know how to properly defend your case especially in cases of embezzlement and purchasing stolen property. Do not hesitate any longer in obtaining the help you need, call our office today!