Grand Theft constitutes the unlawful and intentional taking of property valued at $750.00 or more. Grand Theft is a felony charge, and penalties vary greatly based on the dollar amount and the nature of the crime. Grand Theft is a specific intent crime, meaning that the defendant must have had the intent to deprive the owner of the property without just compensation.
To prove Grand Theft has occurred, the prosecutor must prove three things beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant knowingly and unlawfully obtained, used, or attempted to obtain or use the property of another.
- The defendant intended to permanently deprive the owner of his/her use and enjoyment of the property.
- The value of the property was $750.00 or more.
While at her wealthy neighbor’s house for dinner, Lisa excused herself to use the restroom. Because someone else was already in the common area bathroom, the owner allowed her to use the master bathroom, which has a closet attached to it. While in the bathroom, Lisa started opening drawers and found a very expensive watch. Thinking that she could pay her bills with the watch, Lisa decided to take it. The next morning, Lisa’s neighbor realized that her watch was missing, and contacted the authorities. After determining that Lisa was the only one to enter the master bathroom the night before, the police call Lisa in for questioning, where she confessed to the crime. The watch was valued at $4,000, and Lisa was charged with Grand Theft in the third degree.
The penalties for Grand Theft vary based on the dollar amount of the stolen property:
- Third-Degree Felony: $750.00 or more, but less than 20,000
- Up to 5 years imprisonment or probation and a $5,000 fine
- Second-Degree Felony: $20,000 or more, but less than $100,000
- Up to 15 years imprisonment or probation and a $10,000 fine
- First-Degree Felony: $100,000 or more
- Up to 30 years imprisonment with a maximum fine of $10,000