The FindLaw Legal Dictionary -- free access to over 8260 definitions of legal terms. Search for a definition or browse our legal glossaries.
[Old English thiefth]
: a criminal taking of the property or services of another without consent NOTE: Theft commonly encompasses by statute a variety of forms of stealing formerly treated as distinct crimes.
: theft of property or services whose value exceeds a specified amount or of a specified kind of property (as an automobile) NOTE: Grand theft is a felony.
: the unauthorized use of another's means of identification (as name or social security number) for the purpose of commiting theft or another crime
: theft of property or services whose value is below a specified amount called also petit theft NOTE: Petty theft is a misdemeanor but may be aggravated by prior convictions.
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.