Theft by unlawful taking is an offense involving the unauthorized taking or control of someone else’s property in Nebraska. This crime carries significant penalties, including potential imprisonment and fines. In the following piece, Liberty Law Group provides an overview of what constitutes theft by unlawful taking, the penalties, possible defenses, and the role of a criminal defense lawyer in theft cases.

Omaha Embezzlement Lawyer

Our criminal defense lawyers at Liberty Law Group are experts in the field of financial crimes. Embezzlement can carry heavy consequences without proper representation, and our attorneys are ready to fight for you.

If you or a loved one has been charged or arrested for embezzlement in the state of Nebraska, call our firm at (402) 865-0501 to request a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case.

Embezzlement in Nebraska

Back to top

What is Theft by Unlawful Taking in Nebraska?

Under Nebraska Revised Statute 28-511, theft by unlawful taking in Nebraska can mean taking movable property belonging to another person with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of it. Movable property refers to items that can be physically moved from one place to another. This could be small items like electronics to larger ones such as vehicles.

Theft by unlawful taking can also involve immovable property, which includes real estate and any associated rights. In this context, a theft occurs if someone unlawfully transfers ownership or any interest in immovable property, intending to benefit either themselves or someone else who has no legal right to it. This type of theft could involve fraudulent property transactions or unauthorized transfers of property rights.

The Nebraska theft by unlawful taking law also extends to leased or rented property. If a person fails to return leased or rented property after the written lease or rental agreement expires, and does so with intentions of depriving the owner of the property, it is considered theft. This intent to commit theft is presumed if the individual has been notified about the lease or rental agreement’s expiration and fails to return the property within ten days of receiving this notice.

In addition, the law applies to motor vehicle rentals. A person is guilty of theft if they fail to return a rented motor vehicle within 72 hours following a demand for its return. This could involve situations where a fraudulent or stolen credit card is used to rent or lease a vehicle.

Back to top

What are the Penalties for Theft by Unlawful Taking in Nebraska?

The law distinguishes between misdemeanor and felony theft by unlawful taking. For theft involving property valued at $5,000 or more, the crime is classified as a Class IIA felony. The penalty for this classification includes a prison term of up to 20 years. When the value of the stolen property ranges between $1,500 and less than $5,000, it is considered a Class IV felony. The penalties for this felony level include 0-2 years of imprisonment, 9-12 months of post-release supervision, and/or a fine of up to $10,000. If the value of the stolen property is more than $500 but less than $1,500, the offense falls under a Class I misdemeanor. The consequences for this level of theft include up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Theft of property valued at $500 or less is classified as a Class II misdemeanor. This includes penalties of up to 6 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

Repeat offenses lead to increased penalties. For example, a second conviction for a Class II misdemeanor theft is treated as a Class I misdemeanor, while a third or subsequent conviction escalates to a Class IV felony.

In Nebraska, probation is an alternative sentencing option to imprisonment. It allows convicted individuals to remain in the community under specific conditions. The conditions of probation are designed to ensure lawful behavior, responsibility, and rehabilitation. However, failure to comply with these conditions can result in the revocation of probation and the imposition of the original or a new sentence, including imprisonment. In Nebraska, individuals facing theft charges are usually eligible for pretrial diversion programs and post-plea programs. Completion of those programs generally allows the individual’s case to be dismissed and for the individual to avoid having a criminal record. In Lancaster County, for example, individuals facing theft charges could be eligible for Adult Drug Court, Veterans Treatment Court, Young Adult Court, and all of the diversion programs.

Back to top

What are Some Defenses to Embezzlement in Nebraska?

In Nebraska, defenses to theft by unlawful taking are based on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offense. One common defense is the claim of ownership or right of possession. If the accused person can reasonably establish that they believed they had a right to the property in question, this can serve as a defense.

Another defense is the lack of intent. Since theft requires the intent to permanently deprive, demonstrating that there was no such intent can negate a theft charge.

In cases involving rented property, a defense may arise if the failure to return the property was due to factors beyond the control of the accused, such as weather-related emergencies or other unforeseen circumstances that rendered the return impossible. Additionally, if the person charged with theft can prove that the property was involuntarily in their possession, or they had plans to return it, these factors can be used as defenses.

Furthermore, with charges relating to motor vehicle rentals, a defense could be that the failure to return the vehicle was not intentional but due to a mistake, or that the vehicle was stolen from the person’s possession.

Back to top

How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help an Individual Facing Theft by Unlawful Taking Charges

A criminal defense lawyer assists clients charged with theft offenses, including theft by unlawful taking in Nebraska, by examining the details of their case and developing a customized defense strategy. They analyze evidence, identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, and work to protect the rights of the accused. The lawyer can negotiate with prosecutors, potentially reducing charges or seeking alternative sentencing options like probation or diversion programs. They also guide the client through the legal process, providing advice and important representation in court proceedings.

Back to top

Additional Resources

Grading Theft Offenses in Nebraska – Visit the official website of the Nebraska Legislature to learn more about how embezzlement is defined and graded. Learn how the value of stolen property makes an offense a misdemeanor or felony. Find more information about when prior convictions can escalate the classification of new charges.

The Federal Crime of Embezzlement – Visit the official website of the U.S. Department of Justice to learn more about the federal crime of embezzlement. Access the site to learn about the elements of this offense, which is distinct from the Nebraska state approach of treating embezzlement as a broader theft crime. Find more information on why this offense is distinct from related forms of white-collar misconduct on this site too.

Back to top

Find an Embezzlement lawyer in Nebraska | Liberty Law Group

Our firm proudly serves Omaha in Douglas County, including Lincoln in Lancaster County, Papillion in Sarpy County, Fremont in Dodge County and Council Bluffs in Pottawattamie County, Iowa and the surrounding areas. If you or a loved one has been charged or is under investigation for a financial crime, don’t wait, call our firm immediately at (402) 865-0501 to request a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case.

Back to top