Theft Crimes in Providence: How to Fight Charges and Protect Your Future

January 30, 2024 – Thomas G. Briody

One of the most common criminal offenses encountered across various regions, including Rhode Island, is theft or property crime offenses. Theft, also referred to as larceny in Rhode Island law, typically involves unlawfully taking another’s property with the intent to permanently deprive them of it. Understanding the nuances of larceny in Rhode Island is crucial; for instance, larceny involving property valued under $1,500 is classified as a misdemeanor, while theft exceeding $1,500 is considered a felony. This distinction is important as it involves items of significant value, such as jewelry and money.

However, it is essential not to confuse larceny with robbery. Robbery characteristically includes an element of force or the threat of force, laying the foundation for a robbery charge. For example, simulating a weapon and demanding money is robbery. Contrastingly, if someone were to pick up a dropped wallet and flee, this act would constitute larceny, not robbery.

When it comes to defending against theft charges, a thorough understanding of the facts is imperative. This involves knowing the involved parties and the nature of the alleged behavior, as theft cases are highly dependent on specific details and circumstances. A common form of theft is shoplifting, frequently occurring in retail environments such as Walmart, department stores, and jewelry stores. These establishments are acutely aware of the risk of shoplifting and often employ loss prevention officers or security personnel who actively pursue individuals involved in such activities.

My advice to anyone contemplating theft is straightforward: do not commit the offense. The risks and consequences are not often worth it. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you are accused of taking something that does not belong to you, the first course of action should be to consult an attorney. A skilled lawyer can provide essential guidance and help navigate the complexities of the legal process, ensuring that your rights are protected.

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