Morgantown Theft Lawyer

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Morgantown Theft Attorney

Morgantown, West Virginia, is a relatively safe city compared to the rest of the country. However, there can be instances of theft in the city, ranging from petty theft to burglary. If you have been charged with theft crimes, including shoplifting, robbery, or fraud, in Morgantown, WV, the dedicated Morgantown theft lawyer at Crowe Law, LLC, can represent your case.

Theft offenses can vary in severity, depending on:

  • The scale of the stolen property or goods
  • The criminal record of the alleged defendant
  • Whether threats or violence or the use of weapons were involved

Oftentimes, individuals accused of theft crimes in Morgantown were completely unaware that they were breaking the law. Despite your theft crime charges, the criminal defense lawyer at our firm can inform you about your charges and your rights. Our firm can then take strong steps toward building your defense.

Understanding the Differences: West Virginia Theft Crimes Explained

To understand theft-related crime charges in West Virginia, it’s important to have a basic grasp of the associated vocabulary that makes up the foundation of the law. Theft is used as an umbrella term to refer to all theft crimes in West Virginia, and it includes crimes such as larceny, burglary, and robbery. Theft-related crimes can involve stealing or receiving physical property, such as cash or a car, or it can involve the theft of non-tangible items, such as one’s identity or personal property.

Larceny and theft are two words that are often used interchangeably. However, they are not the same. Larceny is a type of theft crime that refers to the stealing of personal property from a person. This property is physically taken and removed so that the owner can no longer access it and use it. Examples include pickpocketing a wallet or taking cash out of someone’s purse without them knowing.

Burglary and robbery are more serious theft crimes that carry greater associated charges and penalties in West Virginia. Robbery is a theft crime that takes place with the victim or another person being physically present when the goods are stolen. It involves threats, intimidation, or even physical harm. Burglary involves breaking into a structure, such as a home, to steal and remove goods so that the victim can no longer access them.

Penalties for Theft Crimes in Morgantown, West Virginia

Theft crimes can have varying degrees of punishment, based on factors such as the severity of the crimes and the alleged defendant’s criminal record. In West Virginia, if you have been charged with theft crimes, such as embezzlement, receiving stolen property, robbery or burglary, you can face years in prison and hefty fines. One of the major factors that will influence the severity of the offender’s penalties is whether their crime is classified as a misdemeanor or a felony.

West Virginia Misdemeanor Theft: Common Crimes and Penalties

Under West Virginia Code §61-3-24a, accessing someone’s debit card or credit card without authorization is known as “Unlawful Possession of Access Device.” This includes having a stolen debit card or credit card and having a fake or counterfeit card. This crime is typically classified as a misdemeanor, and it can be punished by a maximum six-month jail sentence or a $500 fine.

In West Virginia, a more severe misdemeanor is access device fraud, which includes having the equipment to produce counterfeit credit cards or bank accounts and attempting to use or using counterfeit credit cards or bank accounts. Such a crime is only considered a misdemeanor if the stolen goods involved with the crime had a value of less than $1,000.

Other crimes, such as embezzlement, petty theft, and petit larceny, are considered to be more severe misdemeanors if the value of the stolen goods involved is under $1,000. The penalties can be a maximum of one year of incarceration and a maximum fine of $2,500.

Felony Theft-Related Crimes and Penalties in Morgantown, West Virginia

Felony theft crimes in West Virginia are classified as such if the factors involved in the offense are more intense. These include:

  • The increased amount of stolen goods involved
  • The sensitivity and personal nature of the stolen goods
  • The involvement of threats or violence
  • The alleged defendant’s existing criminal record

Petit larceny crimes, as well as embezzlement, felony theft, and access device fraud crimes that involve stolen property with a value of over $1,000, can lead to a prison sentence of up to 10 years and fines of up to $2,500. By working with an experienced Morgantown criminal defense lawyer, it is possible to get the length of this sentence reduced.

West Virginia Burglary Crimes

Burglary, which involves breaking or entering a structured space, such as a house, to remove and take stolen goods, is characterized as a felony crime in West Virginia. The severity of a burglary charge can depend on whether there was daylight during the time of the alleged crime and whether the alleged defendant had to break into the structure to steal the property.

First-degree burglary involves nighttime entry into a home or daytime breaking and entering with the intent to steal, and it carries a minimum prison time of one year. Those convicted can spend up to 15 years in prison. Second-degree burglary in West Virginia involves daytime entry into a person’s house with the intent to steal and carries a penalty of one to ten years in prison.

West Virginia Robbery Crimes

Robbery crimes involve threats or violence to a person while someone is attempting to steal property. First-degree robbery is the most serious robbery crime that one can be charged with in West Virginia, and it involves using violence or threatening to use a deadly weapon when stealing property. It can result in a prison sentence ranging from ten years to life.

Second-degree robbery involves trying to take or taking someone’s property by instilling fear but without using or presenting a deadly weapon. Such a crime can result in a prison sentence of 5 to 17 years.

Shoplifting in Morgantown, West Virginia

Shoplifting is a common theft crime in Morgantown. It is considered to be the hiding of articles on your person or objects on your person. It can also be the altering of items in the shop to make them appear to have a lower price or pass certain security points. A shoplifting crime can be prosecuted even before an individual has left the store with the stolen goods.

Misdemeanor Shoplifting in Morgantown, West Virginia

A first offense for shoplifting, in which the alleged defendant has been charged with taking goods that are worth up to $500, can be fined up to $250 if found guilty. The offender will also have to pay either double the amount of the worth of the stolen goods or $50, whichever amount is higher.

A second offense for shoplifting, in which the value of the stolen goods is under $500, results in a fine ranging from $100 to $500 and a maximum of six months of jail time. Additionally, they will be expected to pay up to $50 or double the amount of the stolen goods – whichever is greater – to the shop owner.

A second offense for shoplifting in which the value of the goods stolen is greater than $500 is still a misdemeanor, but it carries more severe charges. If convicted of such a crime, an individual may have to pay a fine of at least $500 and spend time in jail ranging from six months to one year. Additionally, they will have to pay a price of double the amount of goods stolen or $50 to the shop owner, whichever is greater.

Oftentimes, individuals who have been charged with misdemeanor shoplifting crimes in West Virginia were unaware that they were committing a crime. Perhaps they are being exposed to the criminal justice system for the first time. This can be overwhelming, as they may be unfamiliar with various legal processes, and they may be unsure about the potential implications of their charges.

Felony Shoplifting in Morgantown, West Virginia

Any shoplifting crime that is committed for a third or consecutive time is considered to be a felony, and it is associated with severe charges. The value of the stolen goods involved in the crime can be any amount for the crime to be considered a felony.

Such a crime, if convicted, can result in fines ranging from $500 to $5,000 and up to ten years in prison. Additionally, the convicted individual will have to pay $50 or double the value of the stolen goods, depending on which is higher.

If you have been charged with a shoplifting felony in West Virginia, it is important to work with knowledgeable legal representation. They can help guide you through the necessary legal processes and advise you on an optimal defense strategy to protect your rights and interests.

Compassionate and Experienced Morgantown, West Virginia, Theft Crime Legal Defense

If you are facing charges for a theft crime in Morgantown, you may be feeling uncertain about what actions you should take. The knowledgeable defense attorney at Crowe Law, LLC, can inform you of your rights and the implications of your charges. Our firm can help you build an optimal defense strategy for your case. Contact us today to get started.


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