I just got arrested / cited for an Oregon theft charge. What happens now? If you were arrested for a misdemeanor theft charge, you were probably given a citation or release agreement directing you to appear in court at a future date. If you were arrested for a felony theft charge, you may have been given a citation or you may have been booked into custody and ordered to appear in court on the next business day following your arrest.
Either way, you must appear in court at the date and time specified. Failing to appear at a court date will result in a bench warrant for your arrest and possibly another criminal charge. In some (but not all) courts, you can have a retained attorney appear in your place for the first court appearance if you are charged with a misdemeanor offense. Talk with your lawyer about whether waiving your first court appearance is possible.
How do I know if I am charged with a felony or misdemeanor theft charge? If you were charged with theft in the third degree (sometimes referred to as "Theft III") or theft in the second degree ("Theft II"), you are charged with a misdemeanor crime. If you were charged with theft in the first degree ("Theft I") or aggravated theft in the first degree, then you are facing a felony charge.
There are other related charges such as identity theft; forgery; criminal possession of a forged instrument; etc. which are outside the scope of the discussion here. What is the difference between these different theft charges? The four main theft charges are summarized in very general terms: CHARGE CLASSIFICATION HOW COMMITTED Theft III ORS 164.043 C Misdemeanor —stealing property valued at less than $100.
Theft II ORS 164.045 A Misdemeanor —stealing property valued at between $100 and $1000. Theft I ORS 164.055 C Felony May be committed in a variety of ways including: —stealing property valued at more than $1000; or —stealing a firearm or explosive (of any value); or —stealing a companion animal or livestock; or —buying or selling property known to be stolen (of any value); or —stealing property during a riot, fire, catastrophe.
Aggravated Theft I ORS 164.057 B Felony —stealing property valued at greater than $10,000. This is only a general summary of the various types of theft charges. Always consult an Oregon criminal defense lawyer about specifics or your situation. If you are charged with an "attempted" theft charge, the crime classification is lowered one level. For example, attempted theft in the first degree (Attempted Theft I) is a Class A misdemeanor instead of a Class C felony.
Are there other types of theft charges? Yes. As you can see above, it is illegal to take / steal property of another. It is also a crime to receive property known to be stolen or buy or sell stolen property. Oregon also criminalizes "theft of services" in the same manner as the theft of property. Also prohibited is theft of lost or mislaid property; theft by extortion; and theft by deception.
There is no crime called "petty theft" in Oregon. Theft of vehicles (e.g. cars or trucks) are generally charged as unlawful use of a vehicle under ORS 164.135 and possession of a stolen vehicle under ORS 819.300. There is no crime called "grand theft auto" in Oregon. What about the crime of "shoplifting." There is no Oregon crime called "shoplifting." Generally, when someone shoplifts (steals from a store) an item the person is charged with one of the above theft counts.
For example, if you shoplift $35 worth of merchandise, you would be charged with theft in the third degree (Theft III). If you shoplift $120 worth of merchandise, you would be charged with theft in the second degree (Theft II). I was cited to appear in "community court" in Multnomah County. What does this mean? If you were arrested for a misdemeanor theft offense in Multnomah County, you may be cited to appear in community court (usually Courtroom 1 of the Justice Center).
Community court offers defendants the opportunity to perform a quantity of community service in exchange for a either a dismissal of the charge or a sentence of discharge. For persons charged with a first time misdemeanor theft offense, community court can be an attractive option that could result in the dismissal of the charge upon successful completion of the program requirements. Your lawyer can explain more about this program.
If you are able to obtain a dismissal of the charge through community court, you may be immediately eligible to seal or expunge the record of your arrest. What is a civil compromise? Certain crimes, including most theft crimes, may be compromised and dismissed if the complaining witness (victim) and the court (judge) agree. There is a formal process to apply to have charges dismissed pursuant to a civil compromise.
First, the complaining witness must acknowledge in writing that the person has received satisfaction for the injury / theft. Next, the court must be convinced that dismissal of the charge(s) pursuant to civil compromise is appropriate. If both of these conditions are met, the court will sign an order dismissing the charge(s) pursuant to the civil compromise. Several issues may affect the ability of a defendant to obtain a civil compromise.
Whether the DA objects, consents, or takes no position is a significant factor. Also, if a defendant has a prior record or a prior civil compromise, getting the court to agree to a civil compromise may not be possible. Some judges will not approve a civil compromise agreement for employee thefts or vulnerable victim (elderly / disabled) thefts. Sometimes the court will require that the defendant sign a release of liability against the complaining witness and police officers in order to obtain a civil compromise.
Some courts charge fees to approve a civil compromise agreement. Keep in mind that many corporate theft victims are unwilling to sign civil compromise agreements. What is the difference between theft and robbery? Both crimes typically involve taking the property of another without lawful authority. However, robbery also involves the use or threatened use of force with the taking. Robberies are therefore more serious offenses.
Can I expunge / seal a theft conviction? Most theft charges are eligible to be expunged / sealed if you meet the general requirements (e.g. enough time has elapsed, no new criminal arrests / convictions). However, a conviction for aggravated theft in the first degree cannot be expunged because it is a Class B Felony. If you are convicted of a theft charge, there will be a waiting period, generally from three to ten years, before you will be eligible to apply for expungement.
If your theft charge is dismissed, then you may be able to move to expunge your arrest without waiting. Check with an experienced lawyer to see if you qualify. How do I contact David Lesh for help with my theft case? Mr. Lesh does not charge for an initial consultation. Call his office at 503.546.2928 to speak with him. Mr. Lesh's office is located at 434 NW 19th Avenue in Portland.See Also: Comfort First Heating And Cooling
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(720 ILCS 5/16-25) Sec. 16-25. Retail theft. (a) A person commits retail theft when he or she knowingly: (1) Takes possession of, carries away, transfers or causes to be carried away or transferred any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale in a retail mercantile establishment with the intention of retaining such merchandise or with the intention of depriving the merchant permanently of the possession, use or benefit of such merchandise without paying the full retail value of such merchandise; or (2) Alters, transfers, or removes any label, price tag, marking, indicia of value or any other markings which aid in determining value affixed to any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale in a retail mercantile establishment and attempts to purchase such merchandise at less than the full retail value with the intention of depriving the merchant of the full retail value of such merchandise; or (3) Transfers any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale in a retail mercantile establishment from the container in or on which such merchandise is displayed to any other container with the intention of depriving the merchant of the full retail value of such merchandise; or (4) Under-rings with the intention of depriving the merchant of the full retail value of the merchandise; or (5) Removes a shopping cart from the premises of a retail mercantile establishment without the consent of the merchant given at the time of such removal with the intention of depriving the merchant permanently of the possession, use or benefit of such cart; or (6) Represents to a merchant that he, she, or another is the lawful owner of property, knowing that such representation is false, and conveys or attempts to convey that property to a merchant who is the owner of the property in exchange for money, merchandise credit or other property of the merchant; or (7) Uses or possesses any theft detection shielding device or theft detection device remover with the intention of using such device to deprive the merchant permanently of the possession, use or benefit of any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale in a retail mercantile establishment without paying the full retail value of such merchandise; or (8) Obtains or exerts unauthorized control over property of the owner and thereby intends to deprive the owner permanently of the use or benefit of the property when a lessee of the personal property of another fails to return it to the owner, or if the lessee fails to pay the full retail value of such property to the lessor in satisfaction of any contractual provision requiring such, within 10 days after written demand from the owner for its return.
A notice in writing, given after the expiration of the leasing agreement, by registered mail, to the lessee at the address given by the lessee and shown on the leasing agreement shall constitute proper demand. (b) Theft by emergency exit. A person commits theft by emergency exit when he or she commits a retail theft as defined in subdivisions (a)(1) through (a)(8) of this Section and to facilitate the theft he or she leaves the retail mercantile establishment by use of a designated emergency exit.
(c) Permissive inference. If any person: (1) conceals upon his or her person or among his or her belongings unpurchased merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale in a retail mercantile establishment; and (2) removes that merchandise beyond the last known station for receiving payments for that merchandise in that retail mercantile establishment, then the trier of fact may infer that the person possessed, carried away or transferred such merchandise with the intention of retaining it or with the intention of depriving the merchant permanently of the possession, use or benefit of such merchandise without paying the full retail value of such merchandise.
To "conceal" merchandise means that, although there may be some notice of its presence, that merchandise is not visible through ordinary observation. (d) Venue. Multiple thefts committed by the same person as part of a continuing course of conduct in different jurisdictions that have been aggregated in one jurisdiction may be prosecuted in any jurisdiction in which one or more of the thefts occurred.
(e) For the purposes of this Section, "theft detection shielding device" means any laminated or coated bag or device designed and intended to shield merchandise from detection by an electronic or magnetic theft alarm sensor. (f) Sentence. (1) A violation of any of subdivisions (a)(1) through (a)(6) and (a)(8) of this Section, the full retail value of which does not exceed $300 for property other than motor fuel or $150 for motor fuel, is a Class A misdemeanor.
A violation of subdivision (a)(7) of this Section is a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class 4 felony for a second or subsequent offense. Theft by emergency exit of property, the full retail value of which does not exceed $300, is a Class 4 felony. (2) A person who has been convicted of retail theft of property under any of subdivisions (a)(1) through (a)(6) and (a)(8) of this Section, the full retail value of which does not exceed $300 for property other than motor fuel or $150 for motor fuel, and who has been previously convicted of any type of theft, robbery, armed robbery, burglary, residential burglary, possession of burglary tools, home invasion, unlawful use of a credit card, or forgery is guilty of a Class 4 felony.
A person who has been convicted of theft by emergency exit of property, the full retail value of which does not exceed $300, and who has been previously convicted of any type of theft, robbery, armed robbery, burglary, residential burglary, possession of burglary tools, home invasion, unlawful use of a credit card, or forgery is guilty of a Class 3 felony. (3) Any retail theft of property under any of subdivisions (a)(1) through (a)(6) and (a)(8) of this Section, the full retail value of which exceeds $300 for property other than motor fuel or $150 for motor fuel in a single transaction, or in separate transactions committed by the same person as part of a continuing course of conduct from one or more mercantile establishments over a period of one year, is a Class 3 felony.
Theft by emergency exit of property, the full retail value of which exceeds $300 in a single transaction, or in separate transactions committed by the same person as part of a continuing course of conduct from one or more mercantile establishments over a period of one year, is a Class 2 felony. When a charge of retail theft of property or theft by emergency exit of property, the full value of which exceeds $300, is brought, the value of the property involved is an element of the offense to be resolved by the trier of fact as either exceeding or not exceeding $300.
(Source: P.A. 97-597, eff. 1-1-12.)