Theft Offenses and Crimes Involving Stolen Property
In 1971, New Hampshire abolished what were known as the common law crimes of Larceny, Embezzlement, Extortion, and Blackmail.
In their place, Chapter 637 of the New Hampshire Criminal Code defines the modern offenses of Theft and Receiving Stolen Property. (This Chapter also includes crimes such as Theft by Deception, Theft of Lost or Mislaid Property, Theft by Extortion, Theft by Misapplication of Property, and Unauthorized use of a Propelled Vehicle or Rental Property.)
Robbery is the use or threatened use of physical force during a theft. For this reason, even minor thefts that include an assault will often be charged as robberies.
Theft in NH: Misdemeanor or Felony?
In general, the value of the stolen property determines whether the crime will be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony in New Hampshire.
The theft of property valued at under $500 will be charged as a misdemeanor offense. The theft of property valued at over $500, but less than $1000 is a class B felony, which is punishable by 3½-7 years in state prison. And, the theft of property valued at $1000 or more is a class A felony, which is punishable by 7½-15 years in state prison.
However, the value of the property is not always the determinative factor. For example, a third theft or theft-related offense is automatically a felony, regardless of the value of the item stolen. This means that a person with two prior theft convictions who is charged with stealing a candy bar can be charged with a felony.
Robbery is always a felony. The use or threatened use of a weapon during the commission of a theft, specifically firearms, will often trigger mandatory penalties or enhanced sentences.
Experienced NH Criminal Defense Lawyers
If you are charged with theft, receiving stolen property, shoplifting, embezzlement, or any other theft-related crime you should speak with a lawyer as early as possible. How the crime is charged may be critical to what direction the prosecution takes, and the eventual outcome of the case.
At Samdperil & Welsh, our lawyers have been representing people in these kinds of cases for years. We carefully review the accusations, the evidence, and conduct any necessary investigation. But most importantly, we aggressively defend our clients at all stages of the case and provide realistic, understandable advice.