Suffolk Theft Crimes Attorney
If you’ve been arrested for theft, larceny or shoplifting, it’s easy to give up hope. Maybe a police officer or security guard stopped you with stolen property, or the store’s surveillance system shows you stashing items in a coat or purse. However, no matter how bad the evidence may look at first glance, there are almost always defenses available. At the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy, our dedicated Suffolk theft crimes lawyer has more than 25 years of experience defending the rights of clients charged with larceny, credit card fraud, shoplifting and other property crimes. We take pride in providing every client with the individualized attention they deserve, ensuring that we do everything possible to reach the best result possible.How Is Theft Defined in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts has many different theft crimes; however, most share a few basic elements. Typically, any theft offense requires the prosecution to prove the following elements:
- You took or exercised control over property;
- The property belonged to someone else;
- You did not have the owner’s permission; and
- You intended to deprive the owner of their interest in the property.
These elements make out the crime of larceny, which is generally used in the criminal justice system with referring to theft. However, there are many variations of theft crimes.What Are the Most Common Theft Charges in Suffolk County?
In Suffolk County, the most commonly charged theft crimes include the following:
- Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card,
- Buying or Receiving Stolen Property;
- Theft of a Firearm, and
- Identity Theft.
Most thefts are not violent crimes. However, a small subset of these offenses straddles the line between property crimes and violent crimes, such as robbery, carjacking and burglary. Individuals facing any theft-related crime should reach out to an experienced Suffolk theft crimes attorney to learn more about their options and how to effectively defend against the government’s allegations.Is Larceny a Felony or Misdemeanor in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, larceny can be either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the value of the allegedly stolen property and, in some cases, who owned the property. For example, theft of goods valued at under $1,200 is a misdemeanor, which carries a possible jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of $1,500. If the value of the items was greater than $1,200, the offense is a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of $25,000.
However, if the alleged victim was disabled or over 60 years old, any theft of goods valued at more than $250 is considered a felony. In this case, a larceny conviction carries a sentence of up to 10 years in state prison or 2.5 years in a house of correction.
Similarly, theft of a firearm—regardless of the gun’s value—is a felony, which is punishable by up to five years in state prison.Defenses to Suffolk Theft Crimes
Just because you’ve been arrested for larceny or another theft crime doesn’t mean you’ll be found guilty. There are many defenses that can reduce your exposure or even result in the prosecution withdrawing your case or a jury acquitting you of all charges. Some of the most common defenses to property crimes include:
- Evidence of the theft was obtained through an illegal search or seizure;
- You did not intend to permanently deprive the owner of the property;
- The owner of the property inflated the value of the stolen goods or services;
- You had permission to take, use or control the property; or
- You had or legitimately thought you had a legitimate ownership interest in the property.
If you face charges related to larceny, shoplifting, or any other theft offense, the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy is immediately available to discuss your case and get started working on your defense. Attorney Murphy is a veteran Suffolk County criminal defense attorney who has the knowledge, experience and dedication needed to handle serious theft cases. We take a personalized approach to every case we handle, taking the time to understand your side of the story and what’s important to you. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today, call 617-367-0450 or reach out to us through our online contact form. We represent clients throughout Suffolk County, including in Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop.