Theft is a serious crime that can earn you time in jail. When you take a person’s property without their permission, you’re legally committing theft. You’re either charged with grand theft or petty theft. These are the two categories under which other forms of theft are categorized. All theft cases involve stolen property, but the variations in severity affect the punishment. Here are some situations in which contacting a lawyer is recommended. 



1. Armed Robbery. You’ll definitely need a lawyer if you’re facing an armed robbery charge. If you use a gun, knife, or any weapon while committing theft it’s armed robbery. When a weapon is involved, it results in harsher consequences than if you’d committed the crime without a weapon. This charge is even more serious if anyone is actually harmed or killed during the robbery. 

2. Robbery. This type of theft involves using threats, violence, or intimidation to steal property. This can be any general property that is not otherwise categorized in any other specific set of laws. There is no actual weapon used during the robbery. But the fact that you threatened someone’s life will undoubtedly affect your sentence. 

3. Automobile Theft. Stealing any type of motor vehicle counts as automobile theft. This includes cars, motorcycles, trucks, buses, and any other vehicle with a motor. The value of the automobile can affect your sentence. 

Stealing an inexpensive vehicle usually counts as a misdemeanor, which gets less jail time than a first degree felony. But if the vehicle is highly-valued at thousands of dollars, then that usually counts as a first-degree felony and carries a harsher sentence. 

4. Embezzlement. You commit embezzlement by stealing property or money you’re supposed to keep safe. This type of theft occurs most often in office settings. For example, a business partner might steal money from the company. 

Penalties and sentences for embezzlement depend on how much was stolen. If less than $950 is stolen, that usually counts as a misdemeanor and carries a light sentence. Things become more complicated with cases involving large sums of money or property. 

5. Receiving stolen property. You don’t have to actually steal to receive a theft conviction. Most people think if they're not present when a crime is committed, then they're free of responsibility. But that's not how the law works. 

It is illegal to buy, sell, receive, or hide property that you know is stolen. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t steal the property. You were aware of the crime and handled the stolen property, therefore you’re guilty as well. Your punishment depends on the value of the stolen property. Highly-valuable stolen items result in a harsher sentence. 

You Need Legal Representation 
Facing theft charges without legal representation isn't recommended. You might even think it’s easy to represent yourself. But it’s highly recommended that you contact a lawyer, such as William Hanlon Tampa criminal attorney. An experienced attorney has years of experience and training that you don’t have. That’s exactly what you need in the courtroom. 

Theft charges can result in serious consequences if you’re found guilty. And if you’re innocent, proving it may not be as easy as you think. That’s why defending yourself without a lawyer by your side isn’t the best move. Your freedom is on the line. Do you know enough about law to take that risk? You may also need a lawyer to work out a good plea deal for you if you did in fact commit the crime. Choosing a reliable attorney to represent you in court is one of the wisest decisions you can make.