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What is the difference between petty and grand theft charges?

Those charged with theft typically hear a lot of different legal terms that they may not fully understand. This is true when it comes to understanding the difference between petty and grand theft charges. In general, the term theft covers a broad range of illegal activities, leading lawmakers to associate related terminology such as petty theft or grand theft based on the severity of the alleged crime. New Hampshire law provides the following easy-to-understand break down of theft charges.

In New Hampshire state legislation, section NRS205.240 describes petty or petit larceny (theft) as intentionally stealing property valued at $650 or less. As you might expect, the legislature defines grand larceny as intentionally taking property valued at more than $650 dollars in section NRS205.220.

Further, Chapter 637, Section 637:11 of New Hampshire law indicates a Class A felony has occurred if someone intentionally takes property valued at $1,500 or more; or if the defendant stole a firearm; or if the defendant was armed at the time of the alleged theft. Class B felony theft involves intentionally stealing property valued at between $1,000 and $1,500.

Regardless of the value of the stolen property, a person can be charged with a Class B felony if his or her alleged actions meet criteria such as having two or more previous convictions or if the alleged stolen property was meant for resale. Theft of property valued at less than $1,000 is typically a misdemeanor in New Hampshire unless the defendant meets the Class B felony criteria.

Whether a defendant has been charged with petty or grand larceny, he or she needs to start thinking about a building a legal defense with assistance from an attorney. Charges of theft are quite serious in our state and can have a dramatic impact on the lives of those charged.

Source: The New Hampshire General Court, "TITLE LXII Criminal Code Chapter 637 Theft" Oct. 21, 2014

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