Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Thieves May Face Severe Punishment in Massachusetts

If you are a petty thief, you do not want to get caught in Massachusetts. A kleptomaniac with the compulsive urge to steal a $251 gold watch or $255 smartphone could face felony charges for his or her misdeed. The Commonwealth takes petty theft very seriously. Some critics say too seriously. Right now, anyone who steals items worth $250 or more can serve up to five years in a state prison. The penalties for stealing are harsher in Massachusetts than most states in the nation.

If you are convicted of stealing or larceny, it can be a life-changing matter. You should take it very seriously and contact a criminal defense attorney. There are many people who believe the law is too harsh for petty theft crimes. It has prompted the Senate to re-evaluate the law, as it tries to find ways to restructure the criminal justice system in the Commonwealth. Recently, the Senate passed a bill to increase the threshold from $250 to more than $1500 for certain items to constitute a felony crime.

The changes would be in line with other states. At present, the penalties are not consistent with them. Officials say the Commonwealth has not looked at this issue since 1987. It may be time for an update on this issues. The bill would help those individuals, who have changed their lives and desire to be productive citizens in society. Some say the current law punishes individuals unfairly. Their felony records keep them from obtaining employment and other privileges because of one error in judgment. The law over-punishes people, who are guilty of minor crimes.

Also, the bill lifts the felony threshold of $1500 for related crimes such as stealing and using another person's credit card, vandalizing personal property or intentionally receiving stolen goods. The Senate has passed the bill. Now it heads to the House for review. Right now, the new bill has not been fully approved and is not presently enforce, so the old law still applies. So you should not forget the harsh punishment you may face when you are caught stealing items worth over $250 in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Remember that an item valued over $250 may include a $25,000 fine and jail time up to five years and items less than $250 may include a fine of $300 and jail time of one year in the Commonwealth. Furthermore, grand theft can be further categorized as first, second, or third-degree grand theft. First degree carries the harshest penalties and fines. It is difficult to erase larceny charges from your record. This may hinder you in housing, employment, and other life essentials or privileges.

Larceny or grand theft is a serious crime involving theft of property or money. The most common larceny charge is shoplifting from a business or retail establishment. Larceny may include other forms of theft, such as purse snatching, pickpocketing, cashing a check that is not yours or embezzlement (stealing money from a business).

Get Legal Help and Advice

If you have been charged with larceny or accused of stealing someone else's money or property, the consequences can be harsh and life-changing. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you and your family with legal advice that may help reduce your punishment or clear your name. He cares about you and provides personalized legal services in every case.  Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.