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Encyclopedia > Thief
Criminal law in English law
Part of the common law series
Classes of crimes
Summary  · Indictable
Hybrid offence  · Regulatory offences
Lesser included offence
Elements of crimes
Actus reus  · Causation
Mens rea  · Intention (general)
Intention in English law  · Recklessness
Criminal negligence  · Corporate liability
Vicarious liability  · Strict liability
Omission  · Concurrence
Ignorantia juris non excusat
Inchoate offences
Incitement  · Conspiracy
Accessory  · Attempt
Common purpose
Defences
Consent  · Diminished responsibility
Duress
M'Naghten Rules  · Necessity
Provocation
Self-defence
Crimes against the person
Common assault  · Battery
Actual bodily harm  · Grievous bodily harm
Offences Against The Person Act 1861
Murder  · Manslaughter
Corporate manslaughter  · Harassment
Public order and crimes against property
Criminal Damage Act 1971
Malicious Damage Act 1861
Public nuisance
Crimes of dishonesty
Theft Act 1968  · Theft  · Dishonesty
Robbery  · Burglary  · TWOC
Deception  · Deception offences
Blackmail  · Handling
Theft Act 1978  · Forgery
Computer crime
Sexual crimes
Rape  · Kidnapping
Crimes against justice
Bribery  · Perjury
Obstruction of justice
See also Criminal Procedure
Criminal Defences
Other areas of the common law
Contract law  · Tort law  · Property law
Wills and trusts  · Evidence
Portals: Law  · Criminal justice
Everyday instance of theft: the bike which fits on this wheel has disappeared.
Enlarge
Everyday instance of theft: the bike which fits on this wheel has disappeared.
The wheels have been stolen.
The wheels have been stolen.


In the criminal law, theft (also known as stealing) is the illegal taking of someone else's property without that person's freely-given consent. As a term, it is used as shorthand for all major crimes against property, encompassing offences such as burglary, embezzlement, larceny, looting, robbery, trespassing, shoplifting, intrusion, fraud (theft by deception) and sometimes criminal conversion. In some jurisdictions, theft is considered to be synonymous with larceny, in others theft has replaced larceny. Image File history File links Scale_of_justice. ... English law is a formal term of art that describes the law for the time being in force in England and Wales. ... This article concerns the common-law legal system, as contrasted with the civil law legal system; for other meanings of the term, within the field of law, see common law (disambiguation). ... In many common law jurisdictions (e. ... A hybrid offence or dual offence are the special offences in Canadian criminal law where the prosecution may choose whether to proceed with a summary offence or an indictment. ... Regulatory offences are a class of crime in which the standard for proving culpability has been lowered so as not to require any fault elements. ... A lesser included offense, in criminal law, is a crime for which all of the elements necessary to impose liability are also elements found in a more serious crime. ... Actus reus is the action (or inaction, in the case of criminal negligence and similar crimes which are sometimes called acts of omission) which, in combination with the mens rea (guilty mind), produces criminal liability in common law based criminal law jurisdictions such as the United States, United Kingdom. ... In law, causation is the name given to the process of testing whether defendants should be fixed with liability for the outcome to their acts and omissions that injure or cause loss to others. ... The mens rea is the Latin term for guilty mind used in the criminal law. ... In the criminal law, intention is one of the three general classes of mens rea necessary to constitute a conventional as opposed to strict liability crime. ... In English criminal law, intention is one of the types of mens rea (Latin for guilty mind) that, when accompanied by an actus reus (Latin for guilty act) constitutes a crime. ... In the criminal law, recklessness (sometimes also termed wilful blindness) is one of the three possible classes of mental state constituting mens rea (the Latin for guilty mind). To commit an offence of ordinary as opposed to strict liability, the prosecution must be able to prove both an actus reus... Criminal negligence, in the realm of criminal common law, is a legal term of art for a state of mind which is careless, inattentive, neglectful, willfully blind, or reckless; it is the mens rea part of a crime which, if occurring simultaneously with the actus reus, gives rise to criminal... In the criminal law, corporate liability determines the extent to which a corporation as a fictitious person can be liable for the acts and omissions of the natural persons it employs. ... The legal principle of vicarious liability applies to hold one person liable for the actions of another when engaged in some form of joint or collective activity. ... In criminal law, strict liability is liability where mens rea (Latin for guilty mind) does not have to be proved in relation to one or more elements comprising the actus reus (Latin for guilty act) although intention, recklessness or knowledge may be required in relation to other elements of the... In the criminal law, an omission or failure to act will constitute an actus reus (Latin for guilty act) and give rise to liability only when the law imposes a duty to act and the defendant is in breach of that duty. ... Concurrence or Simultaneity is a legal term, from Western jurisprudence, referring to the simultaneous occurrence of actus reus (bad action) and mens rea (bad mind), which must be present for a crime to have occurred; except in crimes of strict liability. ... It has been suggested that presumed knowledge of the law be merged into this article or section. ... An inchoate offense is a crime. ... In English criminal law, incitement is an anticipatory common law offence and is the act of persuading, encouraging, instigating, pressuring, or threatening so as to cause another to commit a crime. ... In the criminal law, a conspiracy is an agreement between two or more natural persons to break the law at some time in the future, and, in some cases, with at least one overt act in furtherance of that agreement. ... An accessory is a person who assists in or conceals a crime, but does not actually participate in the commission of the crime. ... The crime of attempt occurs when a person does an act amounting to more than mere preparation for a criminal offense, with specific intent to commit a crime, if that act tends but fails to effect the commission of the offense intended. ... In criminal law, the doctrine of common purpose, common design or joint enterprise refers to the situation where two or more people embark on a project with a common purpose that results in the commission of a crime. ... Categories: | ... For the law in other criminal jurisdictions, see diminished responsibility. ... For a general discussion of the principles, see duress In English law, duress is a defence which allows a limited excuse in favour of those who commit crimes because they are forced or compelled to do so against their will by the threats of another. ... The MNaghten Rules are used to establish insanity as an excuse to potential criminal liability, but the definitional criteria establish insanity in the legal and not the psychological sense. ... For the discussion on general principles and policy, see necessity In English law, the defence of necessity recognises that there may be situations of such an overwhelming urgency, that a person must be allowed to respond by breaking the law. ... For an description of the general principles, see provocation (legal). ... In English criminal law, the defence of self-defence provides for the right of people to act in a manner that would be otherwise unlawful in order to preserve the physical integrity of themselves or others or to prevent any crime. ... In criminal law, a common assault is a crime when the defendant either puts another in fear of injury or actually commits a battery. ... In many common law jurisdictions, the crime of battery involves an injury or other contact upon the person of another in a manner likely to cause bodily harm. ... It has been suggested that Assault causing bodily harm be merged into this article or section. ... Grievous bodily harm or GBH is a type of assault resulting in, for example, broken bones or cuts to the skin. ... This page is a candidate to be copied to Wikisource. ... Corporate manslaughter is a term in English law for an act of homicide committed by a company. ... Harassment refers to a wide spectrum of offensive behavior. ... Under English law, the Criminal Damage Act 1971 is the main statute covering damage to property. ... The Malicious Damage Act of 1861 is a law now mostly concerned with damage to property in the transport sector of society. ... Nuisance is a common law tort. ... The Theft Act 1968 (1968 c. ... Dishonesty is a term which in common usage may be defined as the act of being dishonest; to act without honesty; a lack of probity, to cheat, lying or being deliberately deceptive; lacking in integrity; to be knavish, perfidious, corrupt or treacherous; charlatanism or quackery. ... TWOC is an acronym standing for Taken Without Owners Consent. ... For the purposes of English law, deception is defined in s15(4) Theft Act 1968 and applies to the deception offences in the Theft Act 1968, and to the Theft Act 1978 and the Theft (Amendment) Act 1996. ... In English law, the main deception offences are defined in the Theft Act 1968 (TA68), the Theft Act 1978 and the Theft (Amendment) Act 1996. ... For other uses, see Blackmail (disambiguation). ... A cars handling is a description of the way the car performs, particularly during cornering. ... The Theft Act 1978 supplemented the earlier deception offences contained in ss15 and 16 Theft Act 1968 by reforming some aspects of those offences and adding new provisions. ... Forgery is the process of making or adapting objects or documents (see false document), with the intention to deceive. ... Computer Crime, E-Crime, Hi-Tech Crime or Electronic Crime is committed when a computer is the target of a crime, or the means adopted to commit a crime. ... Bribery is a crime defined by Blacks Law Dictionary as the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions as an official or other person in discharge of a public or legal duty. ... Perjury is the act of lying or making verifiably false statements on a material matter under oath or affirmation in a court of law or in any of various sworn statements in writing. ... Modern Obstruction of Justice, in a common law state, refers to the crime of offering interference of any sort to the work of police, investigators, regulatory agencies, prosecutors, Irvine High School students, or other (usually government) officials. ... Criminal procedure refers to the legal process for adjudicating claims that someone has violated the criminal law. ... A contract is any promise or set of promises made by one party to another for the breach of which the law provides a remedy. ... In the common law, a tort is a civil wrong for which the law provides a remedy. ... Property law is the area of law that governs the various forms of ownership in real property (land as distinct from personal or movable possessions) and in personal property, within the common law legal system. ... In the common law, a will or testament is a document by which a person (the testator) regulates the rights of others over his property or family after death. ... The law of trusts and estates is generally considered the body of law which governs the management of personal affairs and the disposition of property of an individual in anticipation and the event of such persons incapacity or death, also known as the law of successions in civil law. ... The law of evidence governs the use of testimony (e. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (2560x1920, 769 KB) Work by Rama File links The following pages link to this file: Theft ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (2560x1920, 769 KB) Work by Rama File links The following pages link to this file: Theft ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (3072x2304, 4363 KB) Summary Photo by Myke Waddy, August 30th 2006, Edmonton alberta. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (3072x2304, 4363 KB) Summary Photo by Myke Waddy, August 30th 2006, Edmonton alberta. ... Criminal law (also known as penal law) is the body of statutory and common law that deals with crime and the legal punishment of criminal offenses. ... // Use of the term In common usage, property means ones own thing and refers to the relationship between individuals and the objects which they see as being their own to dispense with as they see fit. ... Consent (as a term of jurisprudence) is a possible justification against civil or criminal liability. ... In the United States, larceny is a common law crime involving stealing. ... Looting (which derives via the Hindi lut from Sanskrit lunt, to rob), sacking, or plundering is the indiscriminate taking of goods by force as part of a military or political victory, or during a catastrophe or riot, such as during war [1], natural disaster [2], rioting [3], or terrorist attack... In law, trespass can be: the criminal act of going into somebody else’s land or property without permission; it is also a civil law tort that may be a valid cause of action to seek judicial relief and possibly damages through a lawsuit. ... Shoplifting (also known as retail theft) is theft of merchandise for sale in a shop, store, or other retail establishment, by an ostensible patron. ... An intruder may refer to: An American military aircraft the Grumman A-6 Intruder A person or animal that enters territory that does not belong to them. ... Criminal conversion, in criminal law, is usually defined as the crime of exerting unauthorised use or control of someone elses property. ... Look up Synonym in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In the United States, larceny is a common law crime involving stealing. ...


Someone who carries out an act of or makes a career of theft is known as a "thief".

Contents


Elements

The actus reus of theft is usually defined as an unauthorised taking, keeping or using of another's property which must be accompanied by a mens rea of dishonesty and/or the intent to permanently deprive the owner or the person with rightful possession of that property or its use. Actus reus is the action (or inaction, in the case of criminal negligence and similar crimes which are sometimes called acts of omission) which, in combination with the mens rea (guilty mind), produces criminal liability in common law based criminal law jurisdictions such as the United States, United Kingdom. ... The mens rea is the Latin term for guilty mind used in the criminal law. ... Dishonesty is a term which in common usage may be defined as the act of being dishonest; to act without honesty; a lack of probity, to cheat, lying or being deliberately deceptive; lacking in integrity; to be knavish, perfidious, corrupt or treacherous; charlatanism or quackery. ... In the criminal law, intention is one of the three general classes of mens rea necessary to constitute a conventional as opposed to strict liability crime. ...


For example, if X goes to a restaurant and, by mistake, takes Y's scarf instead of her own, she has physically deprived Y of the use of the property (which is the actus reus) but the mistake prevents X from forming the mens rea (i.e. because she believes that she is the owner, she is not dishonest and does not intend to deprive the "owner" of it) so no crime has been committed at this point. But if she realises the mistake when she gets home and could return the scarf to Y, she will steal the scarf if she dishonestly keeps it. Note that there may be civil liability for the torts of trespass to chattels or conversion in either eventuality. Mistake of fact is an affirmative defense to a crime where the mistake negates the culpable mental state. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Trespass to chattels is a tort whereby the infringing party has intentionally (or in Australia negligently) interfered with another persons lawful possession of a chattel. ... In law, conversion is a tort that deals with the wrongful interference with goods. ...


Theft in English law

Theft was codified into a statutory offence in the Theft Act 1968 which defines it as: English law is a formal term of art that describes the law for the time being in force in England and Wales. ... The Theft Act 1968 (1968 c. ...

"A person is guilty of theft, if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it".

The five elements of the offence are defined sequentially in the Act:

  • Section 2 dishonesty;
  • Section 3 "appropriation" which occurs when the defendant wrongfully asserts the rights of ownership over the property. This can be by physical taking, but it will also include many different situations in which a person may have lawfully come into possession of the property and then keeps (i.e. a failure to return or omission or uses the property in an unauthorised way;
  • Section 4 "property" includes all personalty, i.e. land itself cannot be stolen but anything severed from the land (with the exception of wild flowers) can be stolen, as can intangible property such as a chose in action;
  • Section 5 "belonging to another" requires a distinction to be made between ownership, possession and control:
ownership is where a person is not legally accountable to anyone else for the use of the property:
possession is where a person is only accountable to the owner for the use of the property; and
control is where a person is only accountable to two people for the use of the property.
So if A buys a car for cash, A will be the owner. If A then lends the car to B Ltd (a company), B Ltd will have possession. C, an employee of B Ltd then uses the car and has control. If C uses the car in an unauthorised way, C will steal the car from A and B Ltd. This means that it is possible to steal one's own property.
In R. -v- Turner (No 2) (1971) 1 WLR 901, the owner removed his car from the forecourt of a garage where it had been left for collection after repair. He intended to avoid paying the bill. There was an appropriation of the car because it had been physically removed but there were two issues to be decided:
did the car "belong to another"? The garage had a lien i.e. a "proprietary right or interest" in the car as security for the unpaid bill and this gave the garage a better right than the owner to possess the car at the relevant time.
what was the relevance of Turner's belief that he could not steal his own property? The defence of mistake of law) only applies if the defendant honestly believes that he has a right in law to act in the given way. Generalised and non-specific beliefs about what the law might permit are not a defence.
  • Section 6 "with the intent to permanently deprive the other of it" is sufficiently flexible to include situations where the property is later returned. For example, suppose that B, a keen football fan, has bought a ticket for the next home match. T takes the ticket, watches the match and then returns the ticket to B. In this instance, all that T returns is a piece of paper. Its value as a licence to enter the stadium on a particular day has been permanently lost. Hence, T steals the ticket. Similarly, if T takes a valuable antique but later repents and returns the goods, T has committed the actus reus with the mens rea. The fact that T's conscience forces a change of mind is relevant only for sentencing.

The maximum sentence in the Crown Court is seven years (section 7). Dishonesty is a term which in common usage may be defined as the act of being dishonest; to act without honesty; a lack of probity, to cheat, lying or being deliberately deceptive; lacking in integrity; to be knavish, perfidious, corrupt or treacherous; charlatanism or quackery. ... In the criminal law, an omission or failure to act will constitute an actus reus (Latin for guilty act) and give rise to liability only when the law imposes a duty to act and the defendant is in breach of that duty. ... A chose in action is an intangible personal property right recognised and protected by the law, which has no existence apart from the recognition given by the law, or which confers no present possession of a tangible object. ... A company is, in general, any group of persons, which are known as its members, united to pursue a common interest. ... In law, lien is the broadest term for any sort of charge or encumbrance against an item of property that secures the payment of a debt or performance of some other obligation. ... Mistake of law is a defense sometimes raised in criminal cases, although rarely with any success. ... In law, a sentence forms the final act of a judge-ruled process, and also the symbolic principal act connected to his function. ... Crown Court and County Court in Oxford. ...


If the act of stealing is already complete before another comes into possession of the goods, this may be handling. For alternative charges involving deceptions, see the deception offences and the Theft Act 1978 which may overlap with s1 Theft. For the theft of motor vehicles with or without violence, see robbery, blackmail and TWOC. A cars handling is a description of the way the car performs, particularly during cornering. ... For the purposes of English law, deception is defined in s15(4) Theft Act 1968 and applies to the deception offences in the Theft Act 1968, and to the Theft Act 1978 and the Theft (Amendment) Act 1996. ... In English law, the main deception offences are defined in the Theft Act 1968 (TA68), the Theft Act 1978 and the Theft (Amendment) Act 1996. ... The Theft Act 1978 supplemented the earlier deception offences contained in ss15 and 16 Theft Act 1968 by reforming some aspects of those offences and adding new provisions. ... For other uses, see Blackmail (disambiguation). ... TWOC is an acronym standing for Taken Without Owners Consent. ...


Theft in the U.S.

Although many U.S. states have retained larceny as the primary offense, some have now adopted theft provisions. A state of the United States (a U.S. state) is any one of the fifty states (four of which officially favor the term commonwealth) which, along with the District of Columbia, form the United States of America. ... In the United States, larceny is a common law crime involving stealing. ...


For example, California consolidated a variety of common law crimes into theft in 1927, and now distinguishes between two types of theft, grand theft and petty theft.[1] Grand theft generally consists of the theft of something of value over $400 (it can be money, labor or property),[2] while petty theft is the default category for all other thefts.[3] Both are felonies, but grand theft is punishable by a year in jail or prison,[4] while petty theft is punishable by a fine or six months in jail.[5] As for the older crimes of larceny, embezzling, and stealing, any references to them now mean theft instead.[6] Official language(s) English Capital Sacramento Largest city Los Angeles Area  Ranked 3rd  - Total 158,302 sq mi (410,000 km²)  - Width 250 miles (400 km)  - Length 770 miles (1,240 km)  - % water 4. ...


In many states, grand theft of a vehicle is charged as "grand theft auto" (see motor vehicle theft for more information). This charge became the title of a popular series of video games about stealing cars (see Grand Theft Auto (series)). Motor vehicle theft is a crime of theft. ... Post-GTA2 design of the Grand Theft Auto logo Grand Theft Auto (GTA) is a computer and video game series created and primarily developed by Scottish developer Rockstar North (formerly DMA Design), published by Rockstar Games and debuted in 1998. ...


Repeat offenders who continue to steal may become subject to life imprisonment in certain states. [7] Life imprisonment is a term used for a particular kind of sentence of imprisonment. ...


Notes

  1. ^ California Penal Code Section 486. For the entire portion of the Penal Code covering theft, see Sections 484 through 502.9 at Findlaw.
  2. ^ California Penal Code Section 487.
  3. ^ California Penal Code Section 488.
  4. ^ California Penal Code Section 489.
  5. ^ California Penal Code Section 490.
  6. ^ California Penal Code Section 490a.
  7. ^ See Rummel v. Estelle, 445 U.S. 263 (1980) (upholding life sentence for fraudulent use of a credit card to obtain $80 worth of goods or services, passing a forged check in the amount of $28.36, and obtaining $120.75 by false pretenses) and Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U.S. 63 (2003) (upholding sentence of 50 years to life for stealing videotapes on two separate occasions).

The Ancient Egyptian (Hittite) word for "thief" is "Reezan".


See also

Art theft is the stealing of someone elses high-profile art. ... Bandwidth theft is a label that some apply to the use of bandwidth in potentially unintended ways. ... Data theft is a growing problem primarily perpetrated by office workers with access to technology such as desktop computers and hand-held devices, since employees often spend a considerable amount of time developing contacts and intellectual property for the company they work for they often feel they have some ownership... Dishonesty is a term which in common usage may be defined as the act of being dishonest; to act without honesty; a lack of probity, to cheat, lying or being deliberately deceptive; lacking in integrity; to be knavish, perfidious, corrupt or treacherous; charlatanism or quackery. ... Motor vehicle theft is a crime of theft. ... Theft of services is the legal term for a crime which is committed when a person obtains services — as opposed to goods — without lawfully compensating the provider of said services. ... A sticker on the back of this Illinois street sign deters sign theft Street sign theft is the phenomenon of street signs that are considered unusual or amusing being stolen by collectors, sometimes repeatedly or as a popular student room decoration. ... Laptop theft is a serious threat to users of mobile computers. ... // List of Thieves. ... eBaums World (subtitled Media for The Masses) is a popular website based in Rochester, New York featuring entertainment media such as videos, Flash cartoons and web games. ...

References

  • Allen,Michael. Textbook on Criminal Law. Oxford University Press, Oxford. (2005) ISBN 0-19-927918-7.
  • Criminal Law Revision Committee. 8th Report. Theft and Related Offences. Cmnd. 2977
  • Griew, Edward. Theft Acts 1968 & 1978, Sweet & Maxwell. ISBN 0-421-19960-1
  • Ormerod, David. Smith and Hogan Criminal Law, LexisNexis, London. (2005) ISBN 0-406-97730-5
  • Maniscalco, Fabio, Theft of Art (in Italian), Naples - Massa (2000) ISBN 88-87835-00-4
  • Smith, J. C. Law of Theft, LexisNexis: London. (1997) ISBN 0-406-89545-7.en:Κλοπή

  Results from FactBites:
 
Thief (character class) - Facts, Information, and Encyclopedia Reference article (437 words)
The thief character class in role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons, Final Fantasy, and most MMORPGs are stealthy, dextrous characters who are the only characters who can disarm traps, pick locks, and perform backstabs from hiding.
Typically, these thieves are capable of hand to hand fighting or usage of bows, and while stronger than a mage, are outclassed in physical combat by character classes who are dedicated to such talents.
Although the thief as an archetype in role-playing games achieved popularity through Dungeons and Dragons, in the game's Third Edition the class was renamed as "Rogue", likely since not all stealthy characters are actually thieves.
Thief (film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (525 words)
Thief is a 1981 noir crime drama written and directed by Michael Mann, based on the novel The Home Invaders by "Frank Hohimer" (the pen name of real-life jewel thief John Seybold).
Thief's moody soundscapes were composed and performed by Tangerine Dream, providing the first of many notable film compositions they had in the 1980s.
The film also earns plaudits for its meticulous attention to detail: the tools and techniques of the trade, right down to the oxy lance used to penetrate a safe, are authentic, the result of Mann's decision to hire real-life thieves to serve as technical advisors.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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