Theft Attorney in Springfield, Massachusetts
If you’ve been arrested on a theft charge in Massachusetts, you may be unsure of your next steps. In fact, you may be completely overwhelmed.
At the Law Office of Joseph M Pacella, I can help you make sense of your situation and help defend your rights. I provide experienced, thoughtful, and aggressive defense for all my clients, whether you’ve been incorrectly charged or if you’ve actually stolen property. As the founder of the Law Office of Joseph M Pacella, I’m committed to serving clients not just in Springfield, Massachusetts, but also throughout Western and Central Massachusetts, including Northampton, Westfield, Amherst, and Palmer. Reach out to me today to talk about your options.
Theft Under Massachusetts Law
There are numerous theft charges (also called larceny) in Massachusetts covering a broad range of offenses. In short, a theft occurs when you take someone else’s property without their permission. This can be done through stealing, fraud, embezzlement, or receiving stolen property, and can pertain to both moveable property (tangible items) and immovable property (like real estate or services).
Massachusetts has countless laws on the books about specific items that are stolen such as bicycles, computer services, or government property. Each case must be handled with respect to these laws. This makes it all the more important you retain an attorney who’s well versed in state larceny statutes.
Classification of Theft Charges
The severity of larceny charges in Massachusetts is based on three criteria: the type of property, the value of the property, and the type of victim. Theft of items like firearms or motor vehicles carry stiffer penalties than other property. If the stolen property is valued at less than $1,200, your charge will most likely be a misdemeanor, but if it's over $1,200, it will likely turn into a felony charge. If the victim of the theft was a person over the age of 60 or someone with a disability, your charges and penalties will also be more severe.
Possible Penalties for Theft Charges
The penalties for a larceny conviction vary according to the property value, property type, and type of victim. Typical penalties range from fines to jail time, and most include paying restitution to the victim. If you have multiple charges against you or if you're a repeat offender, your penalties will be more extreme and you may be considered a ‘common and notorious thief.’ However, Massachusetts allows some first-time offenders to receive only a short amount of jail time if they adequately compensate the victim and restore the stolen property.
Minor theft charges like shoplifting carry lighter penalties. Typically, first and second shoplifting convictions of goods valued under $250 only bring a fine and no jail time. However, the more offenses you rack up, the more likely it will be that you’ll see jail time. As with most theft crimes, you’ll also have to provide some kind of restitution to the store owner as part of a shoplifting penalty.
Common Theft Defenses
Theft defense can be complicated, which is why you need a qualified criminal defense lawyer working for you. The prosecution will need to prove that you knowingly took property from someone without their permission with the intent to permanently deprive them of it. Maybe you were wrongly accused? Maybe you didn’t know you were in possession of stolen property? There are many opportunities for possible defenses, but they’ll all be specific to the details of your case. I’ll work with you personally to uncover every piece of evidence that can aid in your defense.
Theft Defense Attorney in Springfield, Massachusetts
If you’re looking for legal representation in or around Springfield, Massachusetts, contact me today. While the penalties for theft crimes can be serious, they aren’t insurmountable. Together, we’ll talk through your options, look at the available evidence, and fight on your behalf for the justice you deserve.