Theft is also referred to as larceny, and it is defined as the taking of another person’s property with intent to deprive the person of the property on a permanent basis. The definition of theft has many elements that must be proven for a theft to occur, and those elements will be discussed below.
The Element of Wrongfulness
When a piece of property is taken away, a theft has only occurred if the taking was wrongful. Someone who doesn’t have the right to have a piece of property is in the wrong if they take that property away from its owner.
The Element of Taking
Taking happens when a person has control over a piece of property, however brief it may be. A person can have control over a piece of property without touching it. For instance, if a car is sold, it’s been taken regardless of whether it was touched.
The element of “carrying away” is fulfilled when property is moved from its original position. Simply rearranging or moving property doesn’t always fulfill this element, but it can in certain cases.
Applicable Types of Property
For a theft to occur, property must be carried away or taken. At one time, property only included movable things, but modern law includes almost everything. A short list includes:
- Real property
- Tangible property
- Documents such as money, passports and plane tickets
- Information such as files and records
- Personal services such as food, transportation and labor
- Intellectual property
Another Person’s Property
If a piece of property doesn’t belong to the person in possession, it belongs to someone else. This is one of the primary theft elements, and it simply means that the property has not been abandoned and that someone else owns it.
Intent of Permanent Deprivation
For a wrongful taking to constitute a theft, the taker must intend to keep it. It’s not theft if the taker intends to return the property eventually, though the person could still be in legal trouble. In many areas, if there’s a risk of loss involved, intent is implied by the act of taking.
Any person accused of a theft should call a Theft Defense Attorney quickly. There are different kinds of theft, and each has its own defense. A knowledgeable Theft Defense Attorney can tell a client about his or her rights, and Jamesehitchcock.com staff can help that person come up with a good defense.