The Difference Between Theft & Aggravated Theft

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Theft is the act of taking any valuable material from another person without proper consent and with the intention of never returning the item. There are several types of theft in criminal law, one of which is aggravated theft. Since theft is a general offense, it is further divided into other types depending on the crime committed.

Petty and Grand Theft

There are generally two types of theft: petty and grand. These types are labeled depending on the amount or monetary value of the item stolen. For example, petty theft can cost $400.00 and below; anything above that amount can be grand theft. Stealing high priced items, such as vehicles and expensive jewelry, are automatically considered grand theft.

Aggravated Theft

In some states, aggravated theft is the highest degree of theft. In Oregon, a person can be charged with “aggravated theft in the first degree” if he or she steals anything that’s more than $10,000.00 and commits theft in the first degree. In some states, aggravated theft can also be charged when a person physically harms the victim, hurts someone else, or damages expensive property during the act of stealing.

Degrees of Theft

State laws have predefined degrees of theft, with each degree having a corresponding jail time and other consequences. In Oregon, third degree theft is charged when a person steals anything less than $100, while second degree is charged when a person steals anything that costs from $100 to $1,000. Theft in the first degree can be committed in several manners. For example, stealing anything more than $1,000 and stealing any type of firearm or explosive can result in a first degree theft charge. The highest degree of theft that can often be committed is aggravated theft. This means that the person stole more than $10,000 and satisfied any of the requirements that make the crime a first degree theft.

Levels of Criminal Charge

Criminal charges for theft can range from C misdemeanor to B felony. State laws also differ on the amount of fine and jail time that accompany the criminal charge; however, third degree theft, which is often accompanied by a C misdemeanor criminal charge, can often be “paid for” by doing community service if it’s a first offense. Aggravated theft is generally a B felony criminal charge. In Wisconsin, a B felony sentence amounts to 60 years of imprisonment for first offenders, with an additional 6 years for repeat felony offenders.


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