What is a Felony?
Crimes are lumped into two general categories: felonies and misdemeanors. A felony is a crime that is punishable by death or imprisonment for more than one year. All other crimes are misdemeanors. In New Hampshire, the death penalty is only reserved for capital offenses which do not include felony theft.
Types of Felony Theft
In New Hampshire, there are three general types of felony theft.
- Larceny is the intentional taking of another person’s property without legal permission and with the intent of permanently depriving the owner of his interest in it. Larceny is further broken down into two categories: grand larceny or grand theft and petty theft. Generally, any theft that amounts to more than $500 is considered grand theft. The major difference between the two is grand theft is a felony whereas petty theft is a misdemeanor. An example of petty theft is shoplifting. Grand theft can be accomplished without permission from the rightful owner or with permission through fraudulent means.
- Robbery is the unlawful taking of property from a person through force, threat or intimidation. The use of force or threat is what separates robbery from grand theft.
- Embezzlement is the intent to defraud. It is when a person in a position of trust, such as a manager of a business, deprives the true owner of the property before the owner ever takes possession. For example, a night manager entrusted with the cash drawers takes money before accounting for them on the company’s books. Often embezzlers try to cover their tracks by recording false entries and records.
Related crimes are possession of stolen goods, concealment, identity theft, internet fraud and burglary. Burglary in particular often is the double crime of unauthorized entry plus grand theft or robbery once inside.
Consequences and Defenses for Felony Theft
In New Hampshire, felony theft is categorized as a Class A felony. So if you are brought up on felony charges for grand theft, in addition to fines of $4000 or an amount that does not exceed double the amount of property gained, the jail time can be from 71/2 to 15 years in state prison.
Defenses for felony theft crimes include mistake and lack of intent. Mistake is usually used in the petty theft cases of shoplifting. For grand theft, embezzlement, robbery and other felony theft crimes, the best defense is to attack the necessary intent needed to complete the crime.
For example, if you used your neighbor’s car to go to the grocery store and then immediately returned it, you would lack the necessary intent to permanently deprive him of his car. This is a necessary element for charges of grant theft. In this example you would still likely be charged for the misdemeanor of petty theft because you took the car without the owner’s permission.
If you have been brought up on felony charges for grand theft, there are many qualified New Hampshire criminal defense attorneys such as Ryan Russman. Mr. Russman has the criminal defense experience necessary to prepare the best defense you will need for serious crimes like felony theft.