If you end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, it is all too easy to become implicated in a crime you did not commit. This is often the case with theft charges. If something goes missing and you were seen in its vicinity shortly beforehand, you could come under suspicion. Similarly, stolen items may even be planted on you, in your home or even in your vehicle.
Whatever the case, theft charges can have serious consequences, although they can vary depending on the alleged nature of the offense. For example, property worth less than a certain amount is classed as petty. The exact sum varies from one jurisdiction to the next. Crimes of this nature are usually considered misdemeanors and penalties may be less severe.
However, as this article on property crimes explains, thefts over this limit may be classed as grand theft. This is generally classed as a felony, regardless of the state you are in at the time. As a result, penalties can include hefty fines or even long prison sentences. Additional classes of theft are distinguished in some areas, giving more details about the offense. Grand theft auto is a well-known example of this.
As with any criminal charge, a good defense is key. This is where an attorney may prove useful, offering advice on your situation and how to proceed. He or she may be able to support you in ensuring the court hears your side of the story and help you as you work to avoid conviction and protect your future.