Crimes involving theft or stealing, which is called larceny under the law, can range from shoplifting to stealing a car. The value of the item stolen is not taken into account in most Australian states, including Western Australia. Larceny differs from robbery because it is considered a non-violent act.
Definition of Larceny
By law, stealing is the act of intentionally taking someone’s property to permanently deprive him or her of it. The property must be capable of being stolen, which means the item must be moveable, for it to be charged as a crime. Whether the item is a package of gum from a grocery store or a horse from a ranch, since the item was movable and therefore capable of being stolen, the defendant can be charged with stealing.
Someone may also be charged with stealing if they fraudulently converted property for their own use. A fraud is committed when:
- Someone intends to deprive an owner of all or any part of their property.
- Someone intends to deprive an owner of all or any part of special property.
- A property is fraudulently used as a pledge or security.
- The owner expects the property to be returned, but the defendant may not be able to do so.
- The property is knowingly used by a defendant in such a way that it cannot be returned in the same condition in which it was borrowed or taken.
- The defendant intends to use money as he or she pleases, even though they may intend to repay it someday.
Penalties for Stealing
Most stealing offences will result in penalties of up to seven years imprisonment for convictions. However, there are circumstances in which the penalty may be less or more, depending on what was stolen. If you are arrested for stealing, no matter the value, you need to hire one of the Perth criminal lawyers to defend you.
If a motor vehicle was stolen and driven dangerously, then the conviction could result in a term of eight years in prison. A penalty of 10 years in prison may be the result if:
- Someone steals a testamentary instrument, like a will.
- An employee steals from an employer.
- An aircraft is stolen.
- A director or officer of the corporation steals from their corporation.
Harsher penalties of 14 years can be handed down if:
- Something was stolen while on a person.
- The value of the property stolen from someone’s dwelling is $10,000 or more.
- Something is stolen from a vehicle, vessel, or place of deposit used for moving goods from one place to another.
- Something is stolen from a vessel in distress, or one that was stranded or wrecked.
- Something was stolen from a public office where it was kept.
- Something was stolen by picking a lock or using a key to open a box or room where it was kept.
Although the law is clear about why possible penalties differ, you need to hire an attorney if you’re facing stealing charges.