One of the more common crimes that are filed in criminal courts across the United States are property crimes. Property crimes include many common crimes relating to theft or destruction of property. They can range from lower level misdemeanor offenses such as shoplifting or malicious mischief to high-level felonies including armed robbery, arson or burglary. Some such crimes do not require the offender to make off with stolen goods or even to harm a victim. For example, the crime of burglary only requires unlawful entry with the intent to commit a crime. Others require the actual taking of money or property. Robbery requires a victim to be present at the time of the crime. Most property crimes include a spectrum of degrees depending on factors including the amount stolen and use of force or arms in theft related cases, and bodily injury in property destruction crimes such as arson.
There are several defenses to property crimes. The most commonly used is lack of intent to commit a crime. Typically, a person intends to steal something, but it also is burglary to enter a building with the intent to commit another crime, such as assaulting and causing injury to someone inside. Property crimes do not typically require the intended crime to be successfully completed. The prosecutor must prove that the defendant entered the structure for the purpose of committing theft or another felony.
A conviction for a property crime comes with several possible penalties, though the possible sentences for such convictions differ widely among states and the type of charge it is. Depending on the jurisdiction as well as the circumstances, property crimes may either be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony and a judge would sentence the defendant accordingly based upon the agreed upon sentencing recommendations between the defense and the prosecutor. Judges will also consider the statutory ranges in addition to any aggravating and mitigating factors that might be present in the case. Typically, a property crime conviction carries a wide range of incarceration options including years in prison, a large fine, court-mandated restitution to the victim and a lengthy probation period.
If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer.