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Theft is a broad category of crimes that usually relate to the taking of property with the intent of permanently keeping it. For an act to be proven as theft, prosecution will have to prove that the individual knew the property was not their own and that they had no intention to give the property back. As there are various different types of theft crimes, there are also various different types of penalties.

The factors that will determine they type of theft are: the category of property and the value of the property. Each state will classify these thefts differently, but two typical categories are petty theft and grand theft. Petty theft refers to theft of property valued at under a certain amount. This amount is usually less than $1,000 and they are usually charged as a misdemeanor. Grand theft is the theft of property over a certain amount and is usually tried as a felony.

It is important to know that theft is not just the taking of physical property. Embezzlement and fraud are also classified as theft crimes. Embezzlement consists of an employee or a person in a place of trust diverting property or funds into their own possession. Fraud is another broad term that refers to theft through misrepresentation and deception. Identity theft attempts to steal personal information like Social Security, address, and birthdate in an attempt to empty the individual's bank account information or charge their credit card. Mail fraud attempts to steal people's income through correspondence schemes.

Another type of theft crime is burglary. Burglary is defined as the unlawful breaking and entering of a property with the intention of stealing. It is charged as a felony and will have harsher penalties than a simple theft. Breaking and entering falls into two different categories. Actual breaking involves force, for example damaging a window or door or breaking a lock. Constructive breaking does not involve physical force, but force through threats, blackmail, or deception.

If you have been accused of any type of theft crime, you could be facing a misdemeanor or felony charge. Talk to a theft crime attorney so that they can review your case and determine the best defense for your situation.