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In Missouri, stealing and related offenses are covered under Chapter 570. Under Mo. Rev. Stat. § 570.030, stealing is generally defined as the appropriation of property or services belonging to another, with the purpose of permanently depriving the owner of that property, either without the owner’s consent or by means of deceit or coercion.
Simply put, stealing is taking another person’s property or service with no intention to return the property or pay for the service. Under the same law, stealing may also occur if a person receives, retains, or disposes property belonging to another, with the intent of depriving the owner of the property, with the person knowing that the property has been stolen, or believing that it has been stolen.
The classification and penalties for stealing in Missouri vary based on the nature of property stolen, the value of the property, prior convictions, and other circumstances surrounding the offense. Typically, the offense of stealing can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. The classes of the stealing offense are as follows:
Class A Misdemeanor theft
Theft in Missouri is considered a Class A misdemeanor if the value of property or services stolen is less than $500. Any stealing offense that does not have a clearly stated classification constitutes a Class A misdemeanor as well. Class A misdemeanor theft in Missouri is punishable by a jail term not exceeding one year and a fine of up to $1,000.
Class D Misdemeanor theft
Stealing in Missouri is classified under this class if the property or service stolen is worth less than $150 and if the person has no previous stealing-related convictions. However, this exempts stealing of items that would constitute a felony offense. Class D misdemeanor theft in Missouri is punishable by a fine of up to $500.
Class E felony theft
The offense of stealing in Missouri is a Class E felony if the property appropriated is an animal; or if the offender has three or more previous convictions for theft-related offenses that occurred on separate occasions over the past 10 years. Class E felony theft in Missouri is punishable by imprisonment for a period not exceeding 4 years and/or fines of up to $10,000.
Class D felony theft
Theft in Missouri is considered a Class D felony if the value of the property stolen is between $750 and $25,000 and if the person physically takes the property from its owner. Stealing in Missouri may also be considered a Class D felony if the property appropriated consists of; an animal, ammonium nitrate, a motor vehicle, watercraft, aircraft, wills and deeds, credit cards, debit devices, and firearm, and other specific items. A person found guilty of Class D felony theft in Missouri could face imprisonment for up to 7 years and/or fines of up to $10, 000.
Class C felony theft
The offense of stealing in Missouri is a Class C felony if the value of the property or services appropriated is $25,000 or more. Theft under this class carries a prison sentence of not less than 3 years and not exceeding ten years and a $10, 000 fine.
Class B felony theft
Theft in Missouri is considered a Class B felony if the property in question is any amount of anhydrous ammonia, liquid nitrogen, any animal considered livestock that is worth $10, 000 or more, or property owned by or in the custody of a financial institution and the property is taken physically from a person. Theft can also be classified under a Class B felony if the offender appropriates livestock valued at $3,000 or more and has a previous conviction for a similar offense. Stealing in Missouri can as well be considered a Class B felony if the offender appropriates a motor vehicle, aircraft, or watercraft and has two previous stealing-related convictions committed on two separate occasions over the past 10 years. The penalty for Class B felony theft in Missouri is a prison sentence not less than 5 years and not exceeding 15 years.
Class A felony theft
These are the most serious theft charges a person can ever face in Missouri. This class constitutes appropriation of a tank truck, tank trailer, bulk storage tank, field tank, and similar framing equipment containing any amount of anhydrous ammonia. The punishment for Class A felony theft charges in Missouri is imprisonment for a period ranging from 10 years to 30 years or a life sentence.
In addition to criminal penalties, stealing in Missouri attracts civil penalties. If you or someone you know is facing theft charges in Missouri, it’s a good idea to get legal help in fighting the charges. A qualified criminal defense lawyer in Missouri will have adequate skills, knowledge, and experience to handle theft charges of any kind.