Theft, called larceny in some jurisdictions, is generally defined as taking someone else's property with the purpose of permanently depriving the owner of that property. It's important to note that theft requires the intent to take property that's owned by another person. So, for example, if a person takes a shopping bag thinking that it belongs to them, it's not considered theft.
Some states separate different types of theft, such as shoplifting or auto theft, into separate statutes. Other states have one statute that addresses all types of theft, but outline different charges and penalties depending on the character or value of the stolen property. Missouri falls into the latter category.
Missouri Theft Laws at a Glance
Since statutory language is often written in "legalese," it can take time to understand what it actually means. For this reason, it's helpful to read an overview of the law in plain English. In the following chart, you can find a summary of theft laws in Missouri as well as links to relevant statutes.
Missouri Revised Statutes, Title XXXVIII. Chapter 570. Section 570.030 (Stealing)
|Defining the Offense(s)
Under Missouri theft laws, stealing occurs when a person:
- Appropriates someone else's property or services without their consent or through deception or coercion and with the purpose of depriving the owner of the property or services;
- Attempts to appropriate someone else's liquid nitrogen or anhydrous ammonia without their consent or through deception or coercion and with the purpose of depriving the owner of it; or
- For the purpose of depriving the owner, receives, keeps, or disposes of someone else's property knowing or believing that it's been stolen.
Stealing can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the character and/or value of the property/services that's been stolen. For example:
- It's a class B felony to steal livestock that's valued over $10,000.
- It's a class D felony if the value of the property/services is $750 or more, or if the offender took the property from the victim's person.
For additional charges, please see the statute.
The following terms of imprisonment and fines are authorized by Missouri's criminal laws:
- Class A felony: imprisonment for 10 to 30 years, or life.
- Class B felony: imprisonment for 5 for 15 years.
- Class C felony: imprisonment for 3 to 10 years and/or fines up to $10,000.
- Class D felony: imprisonment for up to 7 years and/or fines of up to $10,000.
- Class E felony: imprisonment for up to 4 years and/or fines of up to $10,000.
- Class A misdemeanor: imprisonment for up to 1 year and/or fines of up to $2,000.
- Class D misdemeanor: fines of up to $500.
Missouri Revised Statutes, Title XXXVIII. Chapter 570:
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Missouri Theft Laws: Related Resources
For additional information and resources related to this topic, please visit the links listed below.
Get Legal Help with Your Theft Case in Missouri
The charges and penalties for theft depend on the specific circumstances of the crime. The best way to better understand the charges you're facing is to consult with a local criminal defense attorney who can explain how Missouri theft laws apply to your case and explain your options moving forward.