Theft is the unlawful taking of another person’s property or services. A common form of this crime is theft by deception, which occurs when words or actions — rather than force — are used to persuade the victim into handing over money or assets or taking other actions. Despite the absence of force, theft by deception is a serious crime, with penalties that increase in severity according to the value of property or services stolen.
In Arkansas, theft by deception can be as simple as paying for goods using a fake or stolen card. The crime also occurs when a person obtains another individual’s property through trickery or threat. An example is when an individual demands money from someone and/or threatens prosecution by pretending to be an IRS agent or other official.
Theft by deception can also apply to services rendered. Examples are “dining and dashing” in a restaurant or paying a service provider with a bad check. Another type of deception is wrongfully diverting a service for one’s own benefit, such as tapping into a neighbor’s power, cable or internet services. Other examples include phishing scams often sent through text messages or email.
Under the Arkansas Code, withholding information is just as unlawful as providing false information. If you leave out critical facts or fail to correct a false impression in an attempt to deceive another person, you may be charged with theft by deception.
Crimes of theft can be felonies or misdemeanors, and they increase in degree depending on the amount stolen. Misdemeanor convictions can be punished by up to one year in jail. The punishment range for felonies is one to 30 years.
If you’re charged with theft by deception, you will need an experienced criminal attorney to represent you in court. Possible defenses to this crime in Arkansas include asserting a lack of intent to deceive or showing that the words or actions at issue did not meet the definition of deception. That definition does not include:
James Law Firm in Little Rock provides aggressive representation to people facing charges of theft crimes in Arkansas. We are available 24/7 for your convenience. Free parking is available at our office, and we can come to you if needed. Contact us online or call (501) 375-0900 to arrange a free consultation.