• What’s the Difference Between Larceny and Burglary?

    Author : meganbrame August 30, 2016

    One of the most confusing aspects of crime for those who don’t deal with the law often is understanding the difference between common crimes, especially crimes involving property. Whether you’ve witnessed a crime, or have had a crime happen to you, it’s important to know the differences so that you can understand the strategy your lawyer may recommend for your situation. Let’s tackle one of the biggest misconceptions: that theft/larceny and burglary are the same crime.

    Larceny involves unlawfully removing possessions from another person. Depending on your state, this may be the same as “theft” or may be a separate criminal offense. If you’ve removed property from another individual without their permission, you can be charged with the crime of larceny. However, if the accused removes the property by force or threat of force, they’ve moved from larceny to robbery. Larceny can also range in degree of severity based on the value of the property stolen. Petit larceny is usually charged for any property that is under $1000. Grand larceny is for property that is valued over $1000 and will vary in level of degree based on how much the total stolen property is worth, with Third Degree to be the smallest, and First Degree the largest. The higher the degree of grand larceny, the greater the convicted can expect the sentence to be.

    The act of burglary is more encompassing, as it involves only the unlawful entry of a dwelling or structure. So in theory, trespassing could also be seen as an act of burglary by the accused, especially since you do not need to actually take anything. With burglary, the accused can be arrested even if they entered via a standard door or entrance. It’s simply the act of unlawful entry. Like larceny, burglary also has different degrees depending on severity. If the accused simply enters the dwelling unlawfully, they may be charged with Third Degree Burglary. If, however, the accused enters with weapons and intent to commit a crime, they may be charged with Second or Third Degree Burglary. Committing theft or larceny does not need to happen for someone to be charged with burglary.

    While burglary and larceny can be committed at the same time, they can also be committed separately. Burglary can be committed without the removal of property, and larceny can be committed without unlawful entry. Understanding the differences between the two can help protect you and your property from crime, but if you’re unsure whether or not one of these applies to you, contact your lawyer for clarification on your specific case. Continue Reading →

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  • 3 Things to Do When You’ve Witnessed a Crime

    Author : meganbrame August 23, 2016

    If you live in a large city, chances are you encounter dozens of people every day. Most of the time, they’ll just pass by without having to give them a second thought, but occasionally you’ll be a witness to criminal activity or an accident where you may be called as a witness in court. If this happens to you, and you’re unsure what to do, follow these 3 tips for what to do when you’ve witnessed a crime.   Keep in mind your rights For the most part you are not legally required to report a crime you’ve witnessed unless you’re in a field that has separate mandates (like a teacher or medical professional that feels they’re a witness to child abuse). Morally and ethically reporting or not reporting a crime is a gray area, but if you feel unsafe or unable to do so at the time of the crime, you may decide to report it at a later time or not at all.   Contact 911 If you decide to report the crime, call 911 and give any relevant facts you can about the crime. You may also do this anonymously if you want, and are not obligated to give any personal information. The responders will want as much information as possible, so try your best to give them facts that may be helpful for the emergency responders (such as who, what, where, and when). Whatever information you give the 911 responder, make sure it’s as factually accurate as possible, as giving incorrect or false information can be grounds for charging you with creating a false police report.   Contact your lawyer When you’ve witnessed a crime you may be asked to give further information about what you’ve seen and any other pertinent information that the authorities may feel they need. If you’re asked to give a witness statement or testimony, contact your lawyer for best advice before making any statements to police. While you may want to be as cooperative as possible, especially if you weren’t involved in the criminal activity, it’s in your best interest to have your lawyer present at all times.   If you haven’t witnessed a crime, but are still contacted by authorities that are investigating a crime, we’ve also written a great article about that, so follow these steps and make sure you know your rights before heading down to the station to give testimony. Whether you’ve witnessed a crime or are suddenly contacted by authorities to assist with details of a crime, follow these 3 steps as a general rule of thumb and make sure to consult your attorney ahead of time and you’ll be sure that you’re cooperating to the best of your ability in a way that protects your interests, as well. Continue Reading →

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