Theft Crime Punishments Lack Consistency From State to State

TULSA, Oklahoma. The difference between grand larceny and petit larceny is immense. While individuals charged with petit larceny will often face fines and short jail times in local jail that can often be offset with community service or other plea deals, grand larceny is a felony offense and can result in a prison sentence of anywhere from one to five years. A felony can have an immense impact on a person’s life. It can impact an individual’s ability to find work, can impact a person’s ability to seek federal or local aid for school or housing, and can even impact a person’s right to vote.

Every state places a monetary value that divides petit larceny from grand larceny. According to Oklahoma law, if the stolen goods are valued under $500, a person could be charged with petit larceny. However, if the goods are valued over $500, an individual could face grand larceny felony charges.

According to the Marshall Project, the monetary value that divides grand larceny from petit larceny varies widely from state to state, creating a justice system that lacks consistency across the country. For example, in Florida, you can go to prison and face felony charges if you steal something worth more than $300. Commit the same crime in Georgia, just over state lines, and you will face misdemeanor charges and maybe a short county jail sentence. The impact on a person’s life in Florida is immense, because in Florida felons are not permitted to vote.

Many states have increased the value the goods have to be to avoid sending people to prison for petty crimes. Inflation certainly changes how things are valued, after all. However, advocates of felons’ rights argue that there should be some kind of national standard dividing felony theft from misdemeanor theft. Such national standardization is not likely to arrive anytime soon.

So, which states have the lowest thresholds? According to the Marshall Project, you won’t want to be caught stealing in New Jersey, Florida, Massachusetts, or Virginia, where the threshold for felony charges is just $300. To put it into context, some states have thresholds as high as $2500. The reality is that many of these thresholds have not been updated to account for inflation. When some of these standards were set, $300 carried far more purchasing power than it does today.

Critics of raising the thresholds often have their own financial stake in keeping thresholds low. The retail industry claims that lower thresholds are required, because thieves alter their behavior to stay under the state’s felony thresholds.

Oklahoma has a rather low threshold, at only $500. If you are facing felony theft charges, it is important to seek legal help. Contact the theft crime lawyer at the Henson Law Firm, P.L.L.C. today. Our Tulsa, Oklahoma attorneys may be able to help. Even if you are only facing misdemeanor charges, conviction can have a major impact on your life. When your freedom, your reputation, and your future are on the line, visit https://myoklahomadefenselawyer.com/ to learn more about your options and rights.

By | 2017-08-28T21:11:48+00:00 August 28th, 2017|criminal defense attorney|0 Comments

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