Theft is a broad crime that encompasses many different actions. Many people use the words "theft" and "larceny" interchangeably. In fact, larceny is a form of common theft; however, theft encompasses many more crimes than larceny does. In this section, you can learn about petty theft, shoplifting and other common forms of theft that are considered crimes in the state of Connecticut. To begin building your theft or other property crime defense today, contact the office of Cummings Law Firm for a free consultation. We serve in Waterbury, Danbury, Torrington, Bridgeport and throughout the region.
In the state of Connecticut, when one person takes or withholds another person's property with the intention of permanently depriving the rightful owner of that property (whether to keep it for him or herself or give it to a third party), the person is guilty of theft. The owner of the property can be an individual person or a business. In either case, the person who stole property is guilty of theft.
Types Of Theft Charges
In Connecticut, there are many different forms of theft. Some common forms of theft include:
- Theft of services. Theft of services occurs when someone refuses to pay an establishment money for a service. For example, if you do not pay for a meal, you would be guilty of theft of services. Another example is if you stay at a hotel and do not pay for your lodging.
- Obtaining property by false pretense. If you obtain property from another person by use of deceit or false pretenses, you will be guilty of this crime. For example, let's say you want to get health insurance, but you know that you are disqualified because you are a smoker. If you intentionally lie and claim to be a nonsmoker just to get health insurance, you will be guilty of obtaining property (health insurance) by false pretense.
- Obtaining property by false promise. If you promise someone else something in exchange for that person's property, and you don't follow through on this promise, you will be guilty of obtaining property by false promise. An example of this crime would be if you tell someone that you will buy his or her car for $10,000. The owner of the car transfers the title to your name and gives you the keys to the car under the impression that you will pay $10,000 for it. If you never pay the money, you are guilty of this crime.
- Taking property that has been delivered by mistake. This form of theft occurs when someone finds lost property or property that has been delivered to them by mistake, and deprives the rightful owner of the property. For example, if a package that is addressed to your neighbor is accidentally delivered to your door, and you knowingly keep the package, you can be charged with taking property that has been lost/mislaid/delivered by mistake.
- Taking property by fraudulent use of ATM machine. If you use an ATM with the intention of depriving someone else of his or her rightful property, and you intend to keep this property or give it to a third party, you will be guilty of this crime. For example, if you use someone else's debit card to get money from an ATM, you will be guilty of this crime. Another example would be rigging an ATM to dispense money that doesn't belong to you.
- Theft of utility services. If you obtain a service for gas, water, electric or television with no intention of paying for it, you are guilty of this crime.
- Shoplifting is one of the most common forms of theft in the state of Connecticut. Shoplifting occurs when one person intentional takes goods from a store or another form of mercantile establishment with the intention to keep them and not pay for them. Under this definition, suspicion of intent to obtain an item without paying is good enough for someone to be charged with shoplifting. For example, if you are walking around a store and you are caught hiding a shirt in your bag, it can be assumed that you did not intend to pay for this item, and you can be arrested for shoplifting.
Understanding Penalties And Your Rights
Just as with larceny charges, the severity of your theft charge will depend on the amount that the property you are accused of stealing is worth. Please refer to the larceny section for more information on degrees of larceny and penalties involved.
If you need help with a theft charge, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer by your side. Our attorney at Cummings Law Firm has experience with theft cases and can provide the help that you need. Contact us today for more information: 203-754-7779. Initial consultations are free.