If you have been charged with theft, you should take it very seriously. A conviction for theft will stay on your record for the remainder of your life. The punishment for a theft crime can include jail time and large fines. Probation is not always guaranteed, especially for folks with previous theft history. Prosecutors take theft very seriously. This is because often times there is another person involved — an alleged victim — and the prosecutors must answer to those alleged victims.
If you deprive an owner (person or business) of property or service without the owner’s consent, without justification or intent to return or pay for the property, you have committed theft. Theft is committed if the person “unlawfully appropriates property with intent to deprive the owner of the property.”
But perhaps the worst part of a theft charge is what a conviction can do to your future. Background checks are a routine part of life, and a theft conviction can make life very difficult. Employers are very reluctant to hire someone with a record of theft. You may have trouble renting an apartment. You may even face difficulties in obtaining insurance and other necessities in life.
A person commits theft under Nebraska law by:
Nebraska criminal statutes also identify a number of more specific theft offenses, including:
Like many other states, Nebraska classifies most theft crimes based on the dollar value of the property involved. Let’s take a closer look at the different levels of theft under Nebraska law.
Theft constitutes a Class II when the value of the property stolen is $200 or less. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-518(4). This is the lowest-level theft offense under Nebraska law (sometimes called "petty theft").
Theft of telecommunications devices is an example of a more specific theft crime that qualifies as a Class II misdemeanor in Nebraska. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-515.01.
A second conviction for theft at this level will bump the offense up to a Class I misdemeanor, and for a third or subsequent theft conviction at this level, the offender will be guilty of a Class IV felony. § 28-518(6). More on these classifications below.
In Nebraska, a Class II misdemeanor is punishable by no more than six months imprisonment or a fine of no more than $1,000, or both. § 28-106. There is no minimum term of imprisonment for a Class II misdemeanor under Nebraska law, and any sentence of imprisonment must be served at a county jail.
Theft constitutes a in Nebraska when the value of the property involved is more than $200 but less than $500, or when the offender has one prior conviction for the theft of property valued at less than $200. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-518(4).
After a second or subsequent conviction of theft at this level, the offender will be guilty of a Class IV felony. § 28-518(5).
In Nebraska, a Class I misdemeanor is punishable by no more than one year of imprisonment or a fine of no more than $1,000, or both. § 28-106. There is no minimum term of imprisonment for a Class I misdemeanor under Nebraska law, and any sentence of imprisonment must be served at a county jail.
Theft constitutes a Class IV felony in Nebraska when the value of the property stolen is at least $500, but not more than $1,500; and:
Under Nebraska law, a Class IV felony is punishable by a term of imprisonment of no more than five years or a fine of no more than $10,000, or both. § 28-105. There is no minimum term of imprisonment for a class IV felony. A sentence of incarceration for a Class IV felony must be served in an institution under the jurisdiction of the Department of Correctional Services if longer than one year, or in a county jail if less than one year.
Theft constitutes a class III felony in Nebraska when the value of the property involved is more than $1,500. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-518(1).
In Nebraska, a Class III felony is punishable by imprisonment for a minimum term of one year and a maximum term of 20 years, or a fine of up to $25,000, or both. § 28-105. A sentence of incarceration for a Class III felony under Nebraska law must be served in an institution under the jurisdiction of the Department of Correctional Services.
In addition to criminal penalties, any person who commits shoplifting in Nebraska may be civilly liable to the store owner for any actual property damage or loss sustained as a direct result of the incident. That means the offender may be on the hook for:
The parent or legal guardian of a minor who commits shoplifting also may be civilly liable to the property owner -- for the amounts detailed above -- so long as the child is under the age of 17 and living with the parent or legal guardian at the time of the shoplifting offense.
Reach out to find out more about our services or to schedule an appointment with our attorneys.