Theft Defense Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska
Theft can occur in various ways. There’s the thief on the street who nabs a handbag and flees, and there’s the person in a retail establishment who puts a product in their pocket and walks out without paying. Nebraska law recognizes—and punishes—all types of theft, including theft through deception, theft by extortion, and even by receiving stolen property.
In general terms, the value of the illegally obtained item or service determines whether the crime is a misdemeanor or a felony. Repeat offenses can also raise the charge to a felony.
If you or a loved one is under investigation or facing a charge of theft in or around Omaha, Nebraska, contact Greg Nelson Attorney at Law.
I have more than 20 years of experience as a criminal defense attorney. As a former prosecutor, I understand how the other side operates, and I can challenge their every move to help you obtain the best result possible. I also proudly serve clients throughout Nebraska from my two offices in Omaha, including those residing in Sarpy County, Saunders County, Dodge County, and Washington County.
Theft Charges in Nebraska
Theft is not simply the snatching or pocketing of something of value and not paying for it. Under Nebraska law, theft can take different forms, including:
Theft by deception: Using trickery or deceit to obtain something of value from someone else.
Theft by unlawful taking: Taking someone else’s property without their permission with the intent to deprive them of that property.
Theft by extortion: Using the threat of bodily harm, a criminal accusation, or causing legal or reputational harm to obtain someone else’s money or property.
Theft by receiving stolen property: Receiving, retaining, or disposing of property you know to be stolen.
Theft of services: Obtaining services that are only available by compensation such as walking out on a restaurant bill, not paying for a hotel room you rented, not paying for cable or telephone access, or even sneaking into a ballgame or theater.
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Classification of Theft in Nebraska
Theft can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, largely dependent upon the value of the goods or services illegally obtained. Repeat offenses can also factor in.
A Class II misdemeanor involves the theft of something valued at $500 or less. The punishment is up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
A Class I misdemeanor can be charged with a value above $500 but below $1,500, and the penalties include up to one year behind bars and a fine of up to $1,000. A second conviction of a Class II theft charge also elevates the crime to a Class I misdemeanor.
Class IV felony theft occurs when the value of the property or services is at least $1,500 but less than $5,000 and is punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Repeat Class I and Class II misdemeanor theft convictions can also rise to a Class IV felony.
A Class IIA felony can be levied when the theft is valued at $5,000 or more, and a conviction can result in up to 20 years in prison. Repeat felony offenders in Nebraska can face even stiffer penalties. A person convicted of a third felony offense faces a mandatory prison sentence of 10 to 60 years.
Shoplifting in Nebraska is charged according to the classifications listed above relating to the value of the item taken. However, shoplifting is not just hiding something in your coat and walking out without paying. Other tactics also qualify, such as:
altering or switching the price tag;
transferring an item from one container to another;
disabling any security devices; and/or,
causing the cash register on self-checkout to show another price.
Defenses to Theft Charges
Authorities must observe and honor your Constitutional rights when they arrest and charge you. For instance, if they make an illegal search and seizure, that can a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Also, if they arrest you without probable cause, that is also a violation of your rights. For instance, they can’t just haul you in because they think you look suspicious.
Before anyone in law enforcement or working for the prosecution can question you, they are also required to read you your Miranda Rights, which state that “Anything you say can and will be used against you.” Before you answer any questions, make sure you have legal representation.
If your case does go to court, the prosecution must show that you had the intent to commit a crime. Your attorney can argue that you lacked intent, that it was all a mistake, or that you believed the item belonged to you. These defenses, of course, will depend on the circumstances of the alleged offense.
Theft Defense Attorney Serving Omaha, Nebraska
Before you answer any questions from police or prosecutors, contact an attorney for help and protection. Remember, anything you say “can and will be used against you.” Silence can indeed be golden when you’re facing a criminal charge.
Reach out to me at Greg Nelson Attorney at Law and let’s start working on your defense strategy. We may even be able to get the charge lowered or perhaps dropped by presenting your side of the story to prosecutors. If matters go to trial, I will challenge the evidence and the testimony using my prior prosecutorial experience and my 20 years as a criminal defense attorney.