Larceny is specifically the theft of personal property; the term theft tends to be used as a comprehensive definition to cover all types of stealing. However, theft and larceny are commonly used as interchangeable terms, and each jurisdiction may treat the terms differently. In the state of Michigan, theft is almost always legally referred to as larceny.
In the event you are facing a larceny charge because you have been accused of taking something that doesn't belong to you, it is important that you know the laws surrounding your situation. Take a look at four important things to know about larceny charges in the state of Michigan.
1. Larceny Charges Apply to Multiple Types of Property
It is often assumed that larceny applies to only the theft of money, but that is not the case. Multiple types of property theft can lead to a larceny charge in the state, including theft of:
Banknotes, promissory notes, or bonds
Money or funds
Tangible goods or properties
Larceny also applies if an individual removes part of a property and takes it. For example, if someone were to break into a vehicle and steal the stereo out of that vehicle, larceny has been committed.
2. Felony Larceny Brings Along Severe Penalties
When a property is valued at more than $20,000, a larceny charge automatically becomes a felony charge, according to Michigan Legislature. In the state of Michigan, felony larceny means severe penalties, such as up to 10 years in prison and fines of $15,000 or triple the value of what was taken.
Keep in mind that all properties stolen within a 12-month period can be included to build a felony larceny charge in an aggregated manner. For instance, if someone stole scrap metal from a property on multiple occasions, all property stolen can be counted in a single charge to build a felony.
3. Misdemeanor Larceny Comes with Stiff Penalties
Michigan does differentiate larceny by either a misdemeanor act or a felony act just like most other states. Even though a misdemeanor larceny charge is not as bad, it still comes with some harsh penalties. For example, a misdemeanor charge for stolen goods valued less than $200 could lead to jail time for no more than 93 days and fines of $500 or triple the value of the stolen property.
For individuals charged with stealing something valued between $200 and $1,000, jail time can be as much as a year. Fines for these misdemeanors can be up to $2,000 or triple the value of the stolen property depending on which amount is greatest.
4. Felony Larceny Charges Can Come Along with Repeat Offenses
In Michigan, if an individual who is accused of larceny has been charged with a similar crime at least twice before in the past, the charge can be a felony charge. In order for the legal system to bring up a felony charge in these cases, the property stolen must be valued at $200 or more. Normally, stolen property valued between $200 and $1,000 would still be treated as a misdemeanor. However, Michigan considers repeat larceny offenses more severe and more strictly punishes those who are found guilty of repeat larceny crimes.
Overall, facing a larceny charge is never something to take lightly, and Michigan's laws can be hard to understand. It is critical that you seek out a good criminal law attorney who can help build a case on your behalf to defend you in court. Reach out to Bahrie Law to find out more about obtaining proper legal representation in your criminal case.