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Misdemeanor vs felony theft charges in Iowa

On Behalf of | Apr 1, 2022 | Criminal Defense

In the state of Iowa, an instance of theft is any action to unlawfully acquire goods and services without the consent of the owner. Theft involves deceptive conduct to seize property without an intent to return it, or to misuse or control another’s property against the owner’s wishes or rights.

Theft crimes receive classification according to the severity of the crime, including where and how it occurred. Iowa law differentiates theft crimes by the circumstances of the theft into five degrees, each with varying levels of punishment.

Each degree of theft involves various factors to receive a classification. However, one primary variable dictates the severity of theft charges. In order to determine whether a theft crime is a misdemeanor or felony, the courts largely consider the value of the goods or services.

Misdemeanor theft

Fifth-degree, fourth-degree, and third-degree theft fall under the misdemeanor category. Someone who steals property valued at less significant amounts may face simple, serious or aggravated misdemeanor charges. In these instances, the property’s value must stand below $1500.

Felony theft

Any theft crime that involves the illegal acquisition of property with a value over $1500 is a felony. Felony theft crimes can compound and include multiple instances of theft, including both second and third offenses. As well, a person can face charges of felony theft should he or she steal any motor vehicle.

Theft convictions carry penalties ranging from fines and fees to restitution and jail time. The penalties are usually commensurate to the degree of the crime, of which there are clearly defined parameters.