Types of Property Crimes and Who They Affect - Sand Law North Dakota
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Types of Property Crimes and Who They Affect

17th March 2022

Types of Property Crimes and Who They Affect - Sand Law PLLC North Dakota Personal Injury Attorneys

There are several different types of property crimes, and they can all carry stiff penalties in North Dakota. If you’ve been arrested for one of these offenses, you’re going to need the help of an experienced attorney as soon as possible. It could make the difference between having either a reduced penalty – or even seeing your case thrown out completely – and a long jail sentence.

Sand Law attorneys are intimately familiar with North Dakota law. We have a deep knowledge of criminal case proceedings, and we’ll be here to tell you what to expect every step of the way. We’ll also work to make sure your rights are protected at every turn. If you would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact us online or give us a call at 701-609-1510.


A lot of people think crimes like theft, burglary and robbery are the same thing. However, there are significant differences. In a nutshell, theft occurs when someone takes property from someone else, without their permission, with the intention of never returning it.

In order for a theft to occur, two key elements have to be satisfied. First, a person’s property has to be taken. Second, the intent of the thief must be to permanently deprive the victim of that property. This second element can often make a theft case very complex.

Say, for instance, Joe goes to John’s hardware store. Joe takes a wrench, puts it in his pocket, and leaves – intending to keep the wrench. In this case, Joe would be charged with theft. If Joe had broken into John’s pickup truck and drove it off the parking lot, then Joe would probably face a felony theft charge.

Proving the crime of theft can be difficult for a prosecutor. They will have to show that the person accused of the crime specifically intended to take that property and either keep it, give it away or sell it. In many cases, the accused can claim they believed the property was theirs, or they were simply borrowing it.

While there are different degrees of theft, even a charge of misdemeanor theft can carry severe consequences. If the property stolen was valued at $250 or less, the penalties can still be 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. If the value is between $250-$500, the penalties can be a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

Any theft of property valued at $500 or more is considered a class C felony. The maximum penalty is five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Theft of something valued at $10,000 or more is a class B felony, carrying penalties of up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.


When theft involves either violence, or the threat of violence, it falls under the category of robbery. If the victim is hurt, or a weapon is used, that is considered armed or aggravated robbery. The most important consideration is the element of force, as well as the timing of that force. If, for example, the accused only resorts to violence when trying to flee, they will probably face charges of theft and possibly assault – but not robbery.

On the other hand, if someone even commits a minor amount of force, or uses intimidation to coerce a victim into handing over property, that’s still considered robbery. If the accused is much larger than the victim, or the victim has some sort of physical disability, then that person could face harsher penalties.

Robbery is considered to be a more serious crime than theft, so the penalties are more severe. If a firearm or explosive was used to commit the crime, or the accused pretended to have a firearm or explosive, penalties range from 10-20 years in prison and a fine of $20,000. If no firearm/explosive was involved, the maximum penalty is typically five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

As you can see, having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side will be critically important if you’ve been accused of committing this crime.


Arson is obviously one of the most serious property crimes. It’s defined as the purposeful burning of property. Some people are charged with arson because they’re suspected of burning something like their business, or even their home, in order to obtain insurance money. North Dakota law classifies arson as a felony, since this crime can potentially result in severe injuries or fatalities.

If an act of arson places someone in danger, it will be a class B felony. This could result in a $20,000 fine and 10 years in jail. Otherwise, it will be a class C felony, which is punishable by five years in jail and a $10,000 fine.


When most people think of extortion, they think of an attempt to force someone to pay money in order to make some sort of threat go away. But extortion can also involve property. A person committing this crime may, for example, threaten to expose a victim’s online browsing history unless the victim gives the criminal a certain item. This could be an expensive work of art, a car, or just about anything else you can imagine.

North Dakota also recognizes sexual extortion. One example is a person trying to obtain money by threatening to distribute sexually explicit video or images of a victim performing a sexual act. That threat could also involve property or the victim’s reputation.

But there doesn’t have to be any exchange of money or property for extortion to be considered a crime. The threat alone is enough for penalties to be assessed. Extortion can be considered a class B felony, with maximum penalties of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Today

As you can see, the penalties for these property crimes can be devastating. Even if you’re charged with a misdemeanor, the consequences can still be extremely harsh. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with a Sand Law criminal defense attorney. If you’ve been wrongly arrested, we’ll uncover the proof needed to have your record cleared.

Don’t hesitate to use our online form or call 701-609-1510 for a free case review.