18th April 2019
Theft is by far one of the most common crimes committed and prosecuted in almost any modern society. Theft in North Dakota is no different. Acts of theft in North Dakota vary widely from small infractions, like shoplifting a candy bar, to violent acts of extortion. Naturally, the North Dakotans who commit theft vary just as widely. The court system in North Dakota, and the US as a whole, recognizes this difference and carefully judges each theft case individually in order to dispense the correct amount of penalty and discouragement. Small crimes are faced with appropriately small punishments, while larger thefts under extreme circumstances are dealt with much more harshly.
The 4 Stages of Theft Classification
Because there is so much variance between cases, North Dakota defines theft in four tiered categories called Classes but keeping them straight can be a little confusing. The lowest level, with the least punishment, is a Class B Misdemeanor while the highest level is a Class B Felony. Lined up, they look like this:
- Class B Misdemeanor Theft
- Class A Misdemeanor Theft
- Class C Felony Theft
- Class B Felony Theft
The most important distinction to remember is the $500 rule. If what was stolen is not in a special category and does not exceed $500 in value, the crime is a misdemeanor. Otherwise, it will be charged as a felony.
Class B Misdemeanor Theft in North Dakota
If the items or services stolen are equal to $250 or less, you may qualify for the lowest possible charge of a class B misdemeanor. However, this also depends on none of the items falling into a protected category and the act of theft cannot be considered either fraud or embezzlement. The maximum penalties for this charge are no more than 30 days of imprisonment and no more than $1,000, but you can be charged with both time and fines.
Class A Misdemeanor Theft in North Dakota
For alleged theft of property or services valued between $250 and $500, you can be charged with a class A misdemeanor. This charge also applies to any theft valued no more than $500 that was committed through fraud or embezzlement. Fraud is defined by theft through deception in a situation where you have been trusted with someone else’s money. Embezzlement, on the other hand, is theft in the course of your work duties in which you have access to company or client money. The penalties for a class A misdemeanor theft can result in as much as one year of imprisonment, a maximum fine of $2,000 or both.
Class C Felony Theft in North Dakota
This is the first level of felony and a crime can qualify as a class C felony for one or more of several reasons. First, any theft worth a value of more than $500 is automatically a class C felony. Also, no matter what the value, you have committed a felony if even just one of the stolen items include:
- prescription drug,
- government or financial record,
- or explosive
In North Dakota, rustling (rounding up and stealing) even a single head of livestock is also felony, regardless of the cattle’s value. For a class C felony theft, the longest imprisonment time you can face is 5 years and the maximum fine is $5,000 and, of course, you could face both.
Class B Felony Theft in North Dakota
For a theft of a value greater than $10000, a crime will qualify as an incredibly serious class B felony. Class B’s are also applicable in thefts in which property is taken through the threat of serious violence or threat to commit further felony actions. A clear example of this would be theft via extortion. The consequences for a class B felony theft cannot exceed 10 years in prison or $10,000 in fines.
Contact an experienced North Dakota criminal theft lawyer today.
If you have found yourself accused of any theft in the state of North Dakota, the lawyers at Sand Law are ready to help. We have helped thousands of North Dakotans accused of theft and varying other crimes; let us put that experience to work for you.
For more information about your rights and options after being charged with theft in North Dakota, schedule a consultation with Sand Law by contacting us online or by calling 701-609-1510. We serve all of North Dakota and have offices conveniently located in Watford City, Williston, Minot, and Bismarck.