What Are The Laws In Rhode Island Regarding Theft?
Rhode Island has many laws on the books regarding a litany of theft related crimes. Navigating the legal minefield can be challenging. You need to have an experienced criminal defense attorney who has prosecuted and defended many of these cases. Call me today for a FREE Consultation.
Rhode Island’s Theft, Embezzlement, False Pretenses, and Misappropriation Laws can be found in RIGL Chapter 11-41. This blog post discusses five of the most common charges:
- Receiving Stolen Goods
- Larceny from the Person
Larceny and Receiving Stolen Goods
In Rhode Island theft or stealing is known as “Larceny.”
It is also illegal to fraudulently receive stolen goods. However, there is a defense to this charge if you can prove that the alleged stolen property was acquired in the “due course of a trade and for adequate consideration.”
What About Attempted Larceny?
If you attempt to commit larceny by doing any act toward the commission of the offense, but fail in the perpetration you can be sentenced to the same punishments as if you had committed the offense.
Embezzlement and Fraudulent Conversion
The main difference between Larceny and Embezzlement is that in Embezzlement property comes lawfully into possession of an offender while in larceny the offender, instead of initially having lawful possession of the property, takes it unlawfully in the first instance.
The State must prove that the defendant intended to appropriate and convert the property to his own use and permanently deprive that person of the use. That defendant was entrusted with property for specific use; that he came into possession of property in lawful manner, often as result of his employment; and that defendant intended to appropriate and convert property to his own use and permanently deprive other person of use. The State does not need to show that you derived a benefit from the property.
What is the Penalty for Embezzlement?
- If the value of the items is over than $100, it is a felony and you face a fine 3x’s the amount of the value of the embezzled property (up to $50,000) or imprisoned for up to 20 years.
- If the value of the items is less than $100 it is a misdemeanor and punishable by up to 1 year in prison.
What Are the Penalties for Larceny?
- If the value does not exceed one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500), the person shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or both.
- If the value exceeds one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500), and is less than five thousand dollars ($5,000), by imprisonment for not more than three (3) years or by a fine of not more than one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500), or both;
- If the value exceeds five thousand dollars ($5,000), but is less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), by imprisonment for not more than six (6) years or by a fine of not more than three thousand dollars ($3,000), or both; and
- If the value exceeds ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or if the property is a firearm regardless of its value, the person shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than ten (10) years or by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), or both.
Shoplifting can be defined in a variety of ways, but it boils down to taking possession of an item, which is being offered for sale by a store and you did so with the intention of depriving the store of any part of the retail value of the items (i.e. taking the item and not paying for it.).
It is also considered shoplifting if you alter the price tag of an item to make it lower than the full retail value.
If you conceal an item and pass the point of payment then the presumption can be made that you intended to commit shoplifting.
What Are the Penalties for Shoplifting?
- Misdemeanor regardless of the price of the merchandise
- Up to 1-year imprisonment
- Up to $500 fine
Second/ Additional Offense and Value Under $100
- Up to 1-year imprisonment
- Up to $500 fine
Second Offense and Value over $100
- Felony Charge
- Up to 5 Years Imprisonment
- Up to $5,000 fine
What is a Habitual Offender for Theft Crimes?
In Rhode Island if you have three prior convictions for any combination of shoplifting, larceny, or receiving stolen goods then you can be charged as a habitual offender. You can face up to $200 fine and not less than 6 months and up to 1-year imprisonment.
What is Larceny From the Person?
Who ever steals or attempts to steal from the person of another any money or goods is guilty of Larceny from the person. This crime is punishable by no more than 10 years in prison. If there was a use of force or threat of force, greater than the physical taking than that will be a Robbery charge.