When you get a call for a potential client dealing with theft charges, it can be difficult to know exactly what’s going on and the best way to deal with the situation. In many cases, you will deal with a representative for the arrested party that doesn’t have details on the charges. It’s crucial to get as much information as possible to deliver accurate, helpful advice.
Felony vs Misdemeanor
Like DUI and battery charges, theft charges vary in severity and punishment. Charges like shoplifting and petty theft are typically classified as misdemeanors and have preset bond amounts. These can also include low amount check fraud, and selling or receiving stolen goods charges. General theft can be considered as a misdemeanor or a felony and can have a preset bond amount or carry the need for arraignment. These charges depend greatly on the valued amount of goods as well as any enhancement charges such as weapons, assault, or robbery charges. Most times, if there are any subsequent charges or if the amount is more than $2,000, the charge will be classified as a felony. Grand theft charges are typically between $7,500 and $150,000 worth of stolen goods and are always considered to be felonies. Aggravated theft charges begin at $150,000 in most cases, and carry a felony charge as well. These bonds must be set by an arraignment judge instead of being set at the time of arrest.
Many times, a theft arrest will carry additional charges. If a weapon or forcible entry was used or if someone was injured, the arrested party may be facing more serious charges than simple theft. In these cases, it’s a good idea to wait until arraignment to bond out, even if presented with the chance to immediately bond. In these cases, the set bond will be increased due to the severity of the crime, and the arrested party will be expected to make up the difference. On preposted bonds, this process can turn tricky and complicated for all involved parties. Waiting until the arraignment judge sets the bond can save headache and hassle in case of an adjusted bond amount or added bond conditions.