Criminal Theft Lawyers in Topeka, Kansas
If you are accused of a theft crime or shoplifting in Topeka, do not underestimate how serious the consequences could be.
Depending on the value of the property in question, you could be facing a felony charge and prison time.
It is important to work with an experienced criminal theft lawyer to present a strong defence and avoid a criminal conviction. If the amount concerned is relatively minor and you have no criminal record, you can escape the worst consequences even if you are convicted.
At Irigonegaray, Turney, Revenaugh, LLP, our experienced team of attorneys provides legal guidance and will fight to protect your rights and freedoms if you are charged with a theft crime in the Topeka area.
How is theft defined in Kansas?
If you take any of the following actions with the express intention of permanently depriving an owner of the possession, use, or benefit of his or her property or services, you may be found guilty of theft:
- Obtain or exercise unauthorized control over property or services,
- Obtain control over property or services by deception or threat, or
- Obtain control over stolen property or services knowing them to be stolen.
Theft is different from robbery, which is generally considered a more serious crime because it involves the use of force or the threat of force. With theft, there is no use of force.
How serious the offense is adjudged to be will depend on the value of the property.
Typical examples of theft in Topeka
Theft encompasses a broad range of crimes. As well as stealing property directly from a person, it may include embezzlement of funds from a business, fraudulent activity (where trickery is used), or the possession of stolen goods.
Theft crimes can include taking tangible property (such as money or a vehicle) or intangible property (such as title to stock or even identity theft).
Most typically, we see the following four types of theft crime in Topeka:
- Taking control of someone else’s property (including by shoplifting),
- Obtaining someone’s property by deception,
- Obtaining someone’s property by threat, or
- Obtaining property that is known to be stolen.
Other types of theft charges include:
- Theft of services – where services like utilities or entertainment are stolen.
- Theft of mislaid property – where property that was lost or mislaid by its owner is discovered and no attempt is made to return it.
Boosting – where someone is charged with theft from three or more states within 72 hours.
What are the penalties for theft in Kansas?
Theft crimes are “nonperson offenses” and classified either as misdemeanors or felony crimes in Kansas. The main deciding factor is the value of property or services stolen but it also talks into account the criminal history of the offender.
Class A misdemeanor
All misdemeanors in Kansas have a specific maximum penalty according to state law. Theft crimes are punishable by possible jail time, a fine, and possible restitution payments (compensation paid to the victim).
Pursuant to K.S.A. 21-5801(b)(4), misdemeanor charges only apply for theft of property valued under in Kansas. This is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
Level 9 felony
A severity level 9 felony applies if:
- The stolen property or services is valued between $1,500 and $25,000,
- The property or services is valued between $50 and $1,500 and the offender has two or more prior theft convictions in the past five years, or
- A firearm worth less than $25,000 is stolen.
These crimes are punishable by five to 17 months imprisonment and a fine of up to $100,000. Typically, a six-month sentence may apply if there are no prior convictions.
Level 7 felony
A severity level 7 felony applies if property or services valued between $25,000 and $100,000 are stolen.
These crimes are punishable by 11 to 34 months imprisonment and a fine of up to $100,000. With no prior convictions, a typical sentence might be around 12 months.
Level 5 felony
A severity level 5 felony involves the theft of property or services valued at $100,000 or more.
This is the most serious type of theft crime with a prison sentence of between 31 to 136 months and a fine of up to $300,000. Typically, with no prior convictions, the sentence will be around 32 months – almost three years.
What are the shoplifting laws in Kansas?
Shoplifting in Kansas is a crime that can result in both criminal and civil penalties.
As per all theft crimes in Kansas, the severity of shoplifting offenses depends on the value of the property stolen – in this case, merchandise from the store.
If the value of the stolen merchandise is under $1,500, a Class A misdemeanor charge will normally apply if there are no prior convictions.
If you have prior convictions or more valuable merchandise is stolen (or in multiple locations), the offense can be upgraded to a level 9 felony.
Other extenuating circumstances may also lead to a felony charge rather than a misdemeanor, including the use of fraudulent labels, certain types of bags, or alarm removers.
What are the possible civil penalties for shoplifting?
A store owner in Kansas may be able to hold a shoplifter liable:
- If merchandise is not returned in a sellable condition: a penalty of twice the retail cost or $50 (whichever is greater) up to a maximum of $500.
- If merchandise is returned in a sellable condition: a penalty of $50 or 50 percent of the retail cost (whichever is greater) up to a maximum of $350.
The storeowner may also claim reasonable legal costs unless the case is handled in the small claims court.
If the shoplifter is a minor, the parents are liable for any civil penalties, which may be reduced from the adult penalties outlined above.
A conviction for any theft crime in Kansas can have serious repercussions.
If you’ve facing theft charges, we offer a free consultation to speak with a criminal defense lawyer at ITR Law in Topeka so that we can evaluate your case, advise you of your legal options, and begin working on your defense.
Pedro Irigonegaray is one of the most experienced, knowledgeable, professional and compassionate attorneys I have ever known. When you need legal advice or someone to fight for you, get the best. Talk to Mr. Irgonegaray.
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I have known Pedro for many years. A true gentleman, capable and ethical attorney. Glad to see the firm expand with more talented and ethical attorneys. A real asset to the Topeka legal community.
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A rigorous defense
Our attorneys’ experience in criminal defense means that, if we take your case on, we are confident of preparing a rigorous defense.
We will focus on key areas such as the following:
- The precise evidence against you
- The credibility of accusers and/or witnesses
- How the evidence was collected by criminal investigators
- How you were informed of your legal rights by the police
- Interrogation procedures and other protocols
- Your state of mental health at the time of the alleged crime
- Whether there are other factors that explain your alleged actions
In this way, we will build a robust case that will stand up to scrutiny and provide you with the best chance of a favorable outcome.