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Misdemeanor and felony theft under Kentucky law

On Behalf of | Oct 6, 2020 | Criminal Defense |

Kentucky law distinguishes theft laws between theft by deception and theft by unlawful taking. Both are, by default, a Class A misdemeanor, but either can become a felony under certain conditions. 

Generally, the greater the value of the property, the more severe the consequences; however, certain types of property or situation can also impact the way the law treats a case. A clear understanding of the law is essential when planning a defense. 

Theft by unlawful taking 

Kentucky law defines theft by unlawful taking as stealing property from someone or otherwise obtaining control over the property of another. The law provides that the offender must take the property with the intent to deprive the other party or unrightfully benefit from the theft. 

Theft by unlawful taking is a Class A misdemeanor by default, but it becomes a felony if the property in question is a firearm, a controlled substance or anhydrous ammonia (an ingredient in methamphetamine). It also graduates to a felony if the property is a controlled substance, or if the property value is more than $500. The felony class increases proportionally with the value of the property. 

Theft by deception 

Theft by deception under Kentucky law is intentionally deceiving someone or allowing someone to believe an untruth in order to obtain goods or services at their expense. Theft by deception includes such items as writing bad checks, falsifying an identity to gain goods or services, hiding information that would affect someone’s behavior or even intentionally failing to correct misinformation that the other party believes. The law provides that there must be pecuniary damages to qualify as theft by deception. 

Theft by deception is a misdemeanor, but it becomes a Class D felony when the amount in question is more than $500. When the amount exceeds $10,000, it graduates to a Class C felony. 

As always, combining theft with other crimes can increase the severity of the charges. For example, using a weapon, assaulting someone or breaking into the premises unlawfully can and probably will increase any legal consequences. Likewise, prior offenses can have the same effect.