Defining Theft Under Missouri Law

Under Mo. Rev. Stat. § 570.030, the criminal offense of stealing occurs when an individual appropriates property belonging to others with the intent to deprive them of the property. The appropriation of property must occur either without the owner’s consent or using deceit or coercion. Stealing also may occur if an individual receives, retains, or disposes of property belonging to others, with the intent to deprive them of the property, knowing that the property is stolen or believing that it has been stolen.

The penalties for stealing under Missouri range in severity from a Class A felony to a Class D misdemeanor. The level of the stealing offense depends upon the nature and value of the stolen property.

The most severe felony charges, or a Class A felony, are reserved for those who steal tank trucks, trailers, and similar farming equipment that contains any amount of anhydrous ammonia. A conviction on a Class A felony can result in a prison sentence ranging from ten to 30 years, or a life sentence.

It also is a Class B felony stealing if the property stolen consists of anhydrous ammonia, liquid nitrogen, livestock valued at $10,000 or more, or property owned by or in the custody of a financial institution, under certain circumstances. Class B felony stealing charges also may result if persons steal livestock worth $3,000 or more and they have a previous conviction. It is also a Class B felony if individuals steal a motor vehicle, aircraft, and watercraft, and have two previous stealing-related convictions within the past ten years. The potential penalties for a Class B felony include a prison sentence ranging from five to 15 years.

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Stealing property that is worth $25,000 or more is a Class C felony, which carries a potential prison sentence of three to ten years and a $10,000 fine. Stealing is a Class D felony offense, with a maximum prison sentence of seven years and a $10,000 fine, when the value of the stolen property is between $750 and $25,000 or if the person physically takes the property from its owner. It is also a Class D felony if the property consists of certain items, including any motor vehicles, watercraft, aircraft, wills or deeds, firearms, explosives, controlled substances, or various other specific items.

If the property stolen is an animal or if the person has three stealing-related convictions over the past ten years, the offense is a Class E felony. Conviction on a Class E felony can result in a prison sentence of up to four years and a fine of up to $10,000.

It is a Class D misdemeanor if the stolen property is worth less than $150, is not one of the items included in a felony stealing offense, and the person has no prior convictions for stealing-related offenses. Any other item stolen constitutes a Class A misdemeanor.

If you have questions about your criminal charges, you will greatly benefit from the legal advice that you only can get from an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center of Benjamin Law Firm, LLC, has the skills and knowledge that will benefit you in handling your criminal charge. When you need clear answers to your legal questions, contact our office today at (816) 205-4121.

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