Taking something that is not yours without the owner’s permission and with the intent to keep it for yourself is stealing. But there is no crime called “stealing” under Kansas law. Rather, there are several different criminal offenses that fall under the category of “theft.” These crimes are some of the most common and frequently prosecuted crimes in Johnson County, especially for juveniles. Opportunities and temptations for theft are everywhere for teens and adults alike, whether it be shoplifting, taking something from a person’s home or car, or physically grabbing an item from another person’s possession.
When people fall victim to such temptation or find themselves wrongfully accused of a theft crime, the consequences can be harsh and long-lasting. Minors charged with such crimes – and their parents – may think that the fallout from a juvenile theft crime conviction can’t be all that bad; after all, he or she is just a kid and kids make mistakes. But the law and prosecutors aren’t so forgiving. They will seek all available penalties, and those penalties can disrupt and derail a young person’s life in multiple ways.
Aggressive Johnson County Theft Crime Defense for Juveniles and Adults
If you or your child is facing Johnson County theft crime charges, you need to take immediate steps to retain an aggressive and experienced criminal defense lawyer. Without the guidance and protection of a skilled theft defense lawyer, your chances of a positive outcome are slim and the likelihood of a conviction becomes exponentially higher.
Don’t take chances with your future or that of your child. Johnson County theft attorney Jerry Merrill knows what is at stake in theft prosecutions, having spent years as a prosecutor himself before committing himself to the vigorous protection of the rights of those accused of crimes.
With respect and without judgment, Jerry helps guide his clients through what is often a frightening and confusing process, making sure they understand what is happening, what to expect, and what options they have. He crafts and implements defense strategies designed to either obtain an acquittal or keep consequences to a minimum, always seeking alternatives to a conviction.
What Are Johnson County Theft Crimes?
In Kansas, a person may be found guilty of a theft offense if they intend to permanently deprive the owner of their property or services by:
- Obtaining or exerting unauthorized control over property or services;
- Obtaining control over property or services by deception;
- Obtaining control over property or services by threat; or
- Obtaining control over stolen property or services knowing another stole the property or services.
What theft charge you will face, and the possible consequences upon conviction, depends on how you deprived a person of their property and the value of the property you stole.
Some of the most common Johnson County theft crimes include:
Shoplifting Charges in Kansas
Covered under Kansas’ general theft statute above, shoplifting involves the theft of property from a store or other retail establishment. Shoplifting can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor if the value of the property was less than $1500, but all other shoplifting offenses are felonies which could result in significant prison time.
In addition to criminal penalties, those found guilty of shoplifting can face a civil lawsuit by the merchant they stole from and the possibility of substantial monetary penalties. If the offender is a juvenile, his or her parents can be held responsible for any civil penalties awarded.
Robbery in Kansas
Robbery is defined as knowingly taking property from the person or presence of another by force or by the threat of bodily harm to any person. Robbery is a level 5 person felony in Kansas.
In some circumstances, the offense will be enhanced to aggravated robbery if the offender is either armed with a dangerous weapon during the commission of the robbery or inflicts bodily harm upon a person over the course of the robbery. Aggravated robbery is a level 3 person felony.
Understanding Kansas Burglary Charges
A person commits burglary when, with the intent to commit a felony, theft, or sexually motivated crime, he or she enters or remains – lacking authorization to do so – within any:
- Non-dwelling structure; or
All burglary charges are felonies.
Other theft crimes that can result in severe consequences include:
- Credit card fraud
- Possession of stolen property
- Bad checks
- Identity theft
Juvenile Theft Crime Convictions
No parent wants to get a phone call from their child or from the police advising them that their son or daughter has been arrested and charged with a crime. It is the start of an ordeal that must be handled with the utmost care and skill; a young person’s future – their educational and employment opportunities, their reputation, and their freedom – are all on the line.
After being arrested and charged with a Kansas theft crime, a juvenile will either be sent home to their parents or to a Juvenile Detention Facility (JDF) pending the charges. If the theft involved a felony offense such as burglary, the latter is much more likely. A minor held in the JDF will then face a Detention Hearing at which a judge will decide whether the minor should remain in custody or released to their parents.
Juveniles charged with theft face three possible outcomes to their case:
- This involves the completion of a designated program and adherence to a judge’s limitations as set forth in a court order. Upon successful completion of the program, the charges will be dismissed.
- If you and your attorney deem it best to fight the charges, your case will go to trial before a judge or jury which will then render a verdict as to your guilt.
- Plea bargain. Your attorney can negotiate with prosecutors to minimize the penalties and reduce the charges to a lesser offense in exchange for a guilty plea.
If a juvenile is found guilty or enters a guilty plea (called “adjudication” instead of “conviction”), penalties can range from probation to placement in a group home to commitment to a juvenile correctional facility.
Importantly, any juvenile adjudication will be considered a prior offense in the event that the person commits and is convicted of another crime as an adult, meaning that stiffer penalties will likely be imposed. And unless the adjudication is later expunged, it will show up on the person’s criminal history and can be seen by potential employers or anyone who conducts a criminal background check.
For these reasons, juveniles charged with theft and their parents should not treat these charges lightly. With experience, tenacity, and personal dedication to his clients’ well-being, Jerry Merrill represents juveniles and adults in and around Johnson County who face theft crime charges, working closely with them to develop and assert the strongest possible defense to obtain the best possible outcome.
Call Johnson County Theft Attorney Jerry Merrill Today
If you or child are facing theft charges in or around Johnson County, you need aggressive legal representation, and you need it now. Contact Johnson County theft crimes attorney Jerry Merrill online or call 913-381-2085 to schedule your free, confidential initial consultation to discuss your case.
About Attorney Jerry Merrill
I’m Jerry Merrill, a defense attorney who has dedicated his career to the practice of criminal law. Over the years, I have served as a prosecutor, special counsel, and stand-in judge in multiple jurisdictions. Now, I work with those who have been unjustly accused of having committed a crime.
My experiences on both sides of a prosecution have given me a great deal of insight into the strategies employed in criminal litigation, as well as an understanding of what is effective to help reduce or avoid punishment. Since the beginning of my career, I have litigated thousands of cases and secured favorable outcomes for many of my clients.
Interested in learning more? Call 913-381-2085 to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Johnson County theft attorney. I am available at all time to answer any questions or concerns that you may have regarding your case.