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Theft, Stealing, Shoplifting

A long time ago the law used to distinguish between petty larceny, grand larceny, theft by false pretenses, larceny by trick, embezzlement, etc. While many of those distinctions are still present, many States, including Missouri, have merged “Stealing” into a single, umbrella offense to simplify the matter.

Missouri Revised Statutes Section 570.030 is the codification of Missouri’s effort to merge all of the above-mentioned legal theories into “Stealing.” The Statutes provides that: “A person commits the crime of stealing if he or she appropriates property or services of another with the purpose to deprive him or her thereof, either without his or her consent or by means of deceit or coercion.” The Statute then goes on to describe what types of evidence is admissible when the State charges an accused with stealing. More pertinently, the Statute delineates different levels of Stealing. For instance, theft of property or services equal to or in excess of $25,000.00 is a Class Be Felony.

Smaller theft offenses — such as shoplifting — are treated and discussed more thoroughly later in the Statutes. Do note that some theft offenses are statutorily prescribed civil fines and/or restitution wherein the aggrieved party may recover the fair market value of the property stolen, plus reasonable attorney fees and other litigation expenses.

A conviction, a guilty plea, a suspended imposition of sentence, or a suspended execution of sentence (See: Suspended Imposition of Sentence (SIS)) can all have a dramatic effect on you personally as well as professionally. Contrary to what most attorneys say, a SIS will often appear on a background check for employment — even though it is not a conviction. A SIS, furthermore, generally cannot be expunged off your record. As such, great caution needs to be exercised before accepting a SIS for a criminal charge such as stealing.

If you, your friend, or a family member have been charged with stealing, or any variation thereof, do not hesitate to contact us today. Depending on the facts, the State/City/Municipality may bring charges in a court proceeding, which will often have permanent and collateral consequences.

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