If you have been accused of stealing from a store, employer, or from someone you know, you should seek legal advice immediately. There are a variety of criminal charges that may be brought against you depending on (1) the manner of theft of which you are accused, (2) the monetary value of the item that is claimed stolen, as well as (3) your prior criminal history.
Petit and Grand Larceny
The theft of personal property (including money) is referred to as larceny and is divided into two classes under the Vermont Statutes. Petit Larceny (13 VSA § 2502) is the theft of property or money not exceeding $900 in value. Petit larceny is a misdemeanor that carries a fine of not more than $1000, up to one year in jail, or both. Grand Larceny (13 VSA §2501) is the theft of property or money exceeding $900 in value. Grand larceny is a felony that carries a fine of not more than $5000, up to ten years in prison, or both.
Many jobs require employees to take possession of cash or property as part of the employe’s normal duties. If you are accused of stealing cash or property that you have possession of by virtue of your employment, even if you may have an interest in it, you may be charged with embezzlement (13 VSA §2531). Embezzlement is a felony and carries a fine of not more than $500, up to ten years in prison, or both.
Receipt of Stolen Property
Knowingly buying, receiving, selling, or even possessing stolen property is a crime in Vermont and you may be punished the same as if you were the one who actually stole such property (13 VSA § 2561). Importantly, you may be convicted for the receipt of stolen property even if the person who stole the property has not been convicted.
In addition to the criminal penalties (imprisonment and fine) if you are convicted of crimes involving theft or embezzlement, the court may also order you to pay restitution to the victim of the crime. Restitution may be either the entire retail value of the property, or even for damages to the property.
Additional Crimes of Theft
Vermont has also defined several other classifications of theft for specific circumstances. These classes include:
- Shoplifting (13 VSA §2575)
- Theft of Services (13 VSA §2582)
- Theft of Rented Property (13 VSA §2591)
- Failure to Return a Rented or Leased Motor Vehicle (13 VSA §2592)
- Unauthorized use of Boats or Aircraft (13 VSA §2505)
If you have been accused of any form of theft or embezzlement contact an attorney to better understand the charges against you. Every circumstance is unique and it is best to consult with an attorney before making any statements to the police.