How do Theft Charges work in Johnson County, Kansas?
How Kansas defines theft is just like most people understand theft. You take something that does not belong to you. But there are a couple of nuances to it that most people do not get as far as on the low level of shoplifting type offenses. Most people think that as long as they never left the store or something like that that they cannot be charged with theft of the item and that is not true in Kansas. As long as they can show or the city can show that you concealed the item with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of that item, then they can charge you with theft. There are varying different degrees of theft as well.
Obviously it depends on the amount of money or value on which the item they say you did take. For example, anything less than $1,000, unless you have multiple thefts on your record, is going to be a Class A misdemeanor. It is going to go up from there. If it is anything over a $1,000, up to $25,000, it is going to be a level nine felony. If it goes anything from a $25 to $100, it is going to be a level seven felony. Anything over $100 is going to be a level five felony. Remember, I told you there are a lot of special rules in Kansas for drugs. There are a lot of special rules for theft as well. Some of the most common are going to be if you were in a fiduciary duty. In other words, you have a responsibility to protect someone’s money. If you are in a position of trust, like you are handling money or in the cash office.
The person has specifically put a level of trust on you, then your crime can not be elevated, but your sentence can be which is really, really common, because like let us say someone steals over $100,000, they are looking at a level five felony. Level five felony means you can go to prison for a long time. So say if you are charged with level five felony, you are looking at anywhere from thirty-one months all the way up to one hundred and thirty-six months in custody depending on your criminal history. To be able to be in a position to steal over $100,000, usually you have to be in a position of trust. Or you are a cashier or something like that. You have been entrusted with protecting this person’s money. Or you are a fiduciary.
In other words, you are their lawyer, you are their banker or something like that and you just do not have access to that much money unless you meet one of those two requirements. Well, that can double your sentence based on that. So instead of you looking at thirty-one months, you are looking at sixty-two months or one hundred and thirty-six months all the way to almost three years just based off an arbitrary special sentencing rule. There are all different varying degrees of sentences that a person gets from a theft case depending on the level of things they took and the level of or the value of the things that they took.
Can Someone Avoid Theft Charges If They Return The Stolen Contraband?They can actually be charged with a different crime say that exact same thing happens. So you take something and you say, “I want to take this back. I shouldn’t have done that”, and you never got caught, you can actually be charged with temporary depravation of property. In other words, you took something and you did not intend to keep it forever, but you intended to keep it for a little while. That is actually the same level as a theft. So just because you have changed your mind does not mean that you are going to be charged. You can try to mitigate the damages by returning the item. I am sure that the prosecutor would take that into consideration that you tried to return the item, you made a mistake, but they can still charge you. They can still charge you either way, depending on what jurisdiction you are, some prosecutors are a lot more lenient than others or a lot more understanding than others.
Usually the instance in which that happens, somebody has taken a bunch of things, and during the negotiation between their lawyer and the state’s lawyer, obviously the offended party or the person that was the victim wants their things back. Sometimes especially if it is a specific item like a family heirloom, a gun or something that they really had some sort of value attached to it other than monetary, then you can use that to negotiate and say, “Hey, my client is willing to give these things back in exchange for more lenient sentence”. Generally, the context that is done is not for one person that is usually done by lawyers. Because you remember, the offended party or the victim does not say what happens to you. They do not get to say whether you are charged or anything. So if you give up the things that they want, you could be giving away your best bargaining chip.
If an individual tries to return stolen property, they may avoid getting charged with a crime. However, it depends on the store or the owners of the property. Ultimately, you have to remember that the cops are not sitting at every corner waiting for somebody to steal something. Generally, individuals that have committed a theft are usually reported. Typically, someone calls the cops, and says this person is shoplifting from my store. Some shop owners or victims of theft may say, “If you bring the item back, I will not call the cops.” Obviously if the cops are never called, or the theft is not reported, there will not be charges brought against you. But, if law enforcement is there, then almost invariably, you will be charged regardless of whether you brought it back.
It is important to know that bringing stolen property back can actually be harmful. Once stolen property is brought back, some shop owners are not as forgiving, and may still report the theft. There may not have been evidence to prove a theft charge before you returned the item, but returning stolen property can provide evidence of wrongdoing and could help convict you.
What Are The Alternative Programs Available To Theft Offenders?There is a lot of legal room on theft cases. There is a lot of negotiating room because it is not like a DUI where there are laws prohibiting it. That is some of the crimes that you will do to be able to mitigate the damages a lot on some people’s theft cases. There are a lot of positive case laws on it. A lot of times, people get charged with let us say a level five where they have stolen up to $1,000 worth of merchandise. Nobody ever goes and just steals $100,000 from somebody, very rarely. What they generally do is they take $50, $100 or more and then the state tries to aggregate all those crimes up and charge the person under the single larcenist intent theory. A lot of times, if that is the case, you can try to break those large amounts up and get lower level crimes instead of a more serious crime. So there is a lot of legal room on these theft cases just based on your lawyer’s posturing of the case.
Can Theft Charges Be Expunged Or Sealed In Kansas?If a person has not been convicted of any felonies within two years, as long as they have paid all their fines, costs, discharged from probation successfully and it is in the interest of justice or the public good or the person’s actions, merit and expungement, they can get a simple shoplifting case of under $1,000, this can be expunged after three years after the they get off probation. Some of the higher level ones can go up to five years that the person has to wait, but generally, it is three years after the time you get off that your case is closed, you can get the case expunged if you meet the requirements.
What Is Passing A Worthless Check Under Kansas Law?Passing a worthless check depends largely on the value of the check and what you passed. Sometimes they will make them into theft cases, forgery cases or things like that. But the most common one is going to be a person that just writes a bad check. They have to show that you did not have the money in your account at the time you wrote the check which is going to be difficult, but most of the time, I can work something out with the prosecutor on these types of cases in which the case gets dismissed if they are willing to make the payments or get the check squared away depending on how many they have written It is a misdemeanor offense as long as it is less than $1,000. It is just something you want to take care of because the longer it sits out there, generally the harder the prosecutor is going to be to work with. It is a criminal offense; you have to report it to your employers if you get convicted. It is not something you want hanging out there.
In Kansas, theft can be defined in multiple ways. The most common definition is the act of obtaining property that doesn’t belong to you. That is the straightforward version. But, theft can also be defined in other ways. For example, theft by deception is another theft charge. As well as obtaining property that you know to be stolen property, is also theft. The statute states that if you conceal property with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of that item, then you have committed a theft.
What Are The Most Common Types Of Theft Cases In Kansas?The most common theft cases in Kansas are shoplifting cases. A shoplifting case, for example, occurs if an individual went shopping, for instance at a mall, department store, or a grocery store, and an item is taken from that store without paying for that item. That act of stealing or shoplifting is a misdemeanor crime if the item or items total less than $1,000 in value.
Are People Who Are Charged with Theft Always Arrested?Not all people who are charged with theft get arrested. With most shoplifting cases, an individual will not be arrested after they commit a theft. There are exceptions, but most individuals caught shoplifting will be given a ticket or a summons to go to court on a given day. Usually that is the case if it is a first-time offense, and if the person lives or resides in Kansas. Unfortunately, if you have been caught shoplifting and you are from out of state, they will generally make an arrest and make you post bond.
Are There Different Levels Of Charges Within Shoplifting Cases?Shoplifting cases in Kansas can result in different levels of charges depending on the severity of the theft. Severity is dictated by the value, or dollar amount, of property that has been stolen. If the total amount of property stolen is valued at less than $1,000, the charge is a misdemeanor theft, which is Class A misdemeanor. It is the most severe misdemeanor you can get in Kansas, whether the item was $50 or $1000 the law looks at the defendant the same. If the value of stolen property exceeds $1,000, but is less than $25,000 dollars, then the penalties are more severe, and an individual may be charged with a level 9 felony. A felony offense could result in jail time and fines. If you are charged with stolen property worth $25,000 to $100,000, an individual may be charged with a level 7 felony offense. A level 7 felony offense may result in jail time, as well as fines.
The most severe theft charge involves stolen property valued at over $100,000, and will be a level 5 felony charge. Usually, a level 5 felony charge can result in jail time and fines.
Overall, penalties for a theft charge can be dependent on two things. One is the value, and the other is if you have a prior criminal record. If there are multiple thefts on your record, they can elevate it to a felony or if you commit multiple small thefts within seventy-two hours, an exception can be made and a felony charge can be brought as a result.
Can Someone Accompanying A Shoplifter Be Charged With Theft As Well?If someone is accompanying a shoplifter, they usually will not be arrested for shoplifting, assuming it has been established that individual was actually not involved.
It is important to keep in mind that being charged with theft, and convicted of theft, are two separate things. For an individual to be convicted of a crime, the elements of the statute or the ordinance must be proven. The prosecutor is going to have to prove that the person either had the intent to steal and permanently deprive the owner of that item. They still have to meet the statutory requirements.