Hot answers tagged

175 votes

Why shouldn't a bank robbery without threats be legal?

As a concrete example, consider Missouri v. Coleman, where Coleman handed a teller a plastic bag and said "I need you to do me a favor. Put the money in this bag", and later as the manager approached, ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
121 votes

Why is stealing from an employer a criminal act when stealing from an employee is a civil act?

Because one is theft and the other is breach of contract Theft is taking someone’s property with the intent of permanently depriving them of it. It has always been a crime, in fact, it’s a toss up ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 205k
116 votes

Stealing my own property back?

No. This would not be illegal. You are not trespassing or breaking and entering since you have permission to be on the premises, and you are the rightful owner of the guitar so you are not depriving ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 206k
94 votes

Why shouldn't a bank robbery without threats be legal?

Generally, the law would not just look at the robber's literal words, but at how a reasonable person would understand them in context. And it will assume that the robber meant them to be understood ...
Nate Eldredge's user avatar
68 votes
Accepted

Is it legal for private citizens to "impound" e-scooters?

Maybe, Hence the Lawsuits In the absence of clear statute law these all circle around tort law. For the scooter companies, trespass to chattels, and for the affected landowners (who hire the ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 205k
54 votes
Accepted

Victim of larceny doesn't press charges. Does this mean suspect walks free?

The DA decides The decision to prosecute a crime is vested in the district attorney (a.k.a. the prosecuting attorney, a public official in charge with bringing criminal cases in court). The DA can ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 206k
53 votes
Accepted

What's so Grand about Grand Theft Auto?

Grand theft, a term which is used in some jurisdictions, is "big theft". It is defined in California in terms of what and how much you steal, for instance "over $950" except over $250 for domestic ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
52 votes

Stealing my own property back?

Ohwilleke's answer is good, but there is a further point to consider. You say that Bob is your ex. Are there grounds for him thinking that this guitar was a joint purchase while you were a couple, ...
Graham's user avatar
  • 2,701
51 votes

Can you be charged with employee theft after being fired?

If you are facing felony charges, you need to hire a criminal defense lawyer, not ask for legal advice on the Internet. Do not talk to the police without your lawyer present. Do not attempt to ...
Davislor's user avatar
  • 2,874
50 votes

Is it a crime to "steal" your own money from a bank?

The physical cash in the bank is not your property, at least not in US law (according to Scalia). It becomes your property when the withdrawal is performed by some means specified in your contract. A ...
Therac's user avatar
  • 2,896
49 votes
Accepted

Does a private citizen in the US have the right to make a "Contact the Police" poster?

There is no law against a person creating and distributing such a poster, to the best of my knowledge. However such a poster pretty clearly implies that the person shown is guilty of a crime, or at ...
David Siegel's user avatar
43 votes

In a state with the common law definition of theft, can you force a store to take cash by "pretending" to steal?

This is a good example of the life of the law being experience and not reason. While there is a logical argument that this isn't theft, in reality, this conduct would universally be considered an open ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 206k
37 votes

Can you be charged with employee theft after being fired?

The laptop was in your possession legally. Being fired makes no difference, it is still in your possession legally. Of course they can demand that you return the laptop, but that has to happen in a ...
gnasher729's user avatar
  • 33.3k
35 votes

If someone robs a bank at which (s)he has an account, can the bank deduct that amount from the robber's account?

If there has been no trial establishing Bob's guilt, the bank does not know that it was Bob who did rob the bank. Even if the bank has Bob on the security video feed, claiming that, "As my name ...
SJuan76's user avatar
  • 5,859
35 votes

Theft by proxy using wild Crows?

This answer assumes no further intention than is disclosed in the question. If Alice had heightened or more precise intentions, that would change the analysis and could transform the scenario to be ...
Jen's user avatar
  • 51.6k
33 votes
Accepted

Why is stealing from an employer a criminal act when stealing from an employee is a civil act?

What do you mean by "stealing"; this matters, because "stealing" often doesn't have a formal/legal definition (and when it does, it falls under your #2 point above, where the ...
sharur's user avatar
  • 8,773
30 votes
Accepted

What happens if someone who intends to steal a car decides to rescue a child after breaking in?

Yes However, unless he confesses to his intent he’s not going to be caught.
Dale M's user avatar
  • 205k
29 votes

What is the status (and value) of the day’s unsold newspapers being put out for collection by the paper boy?

Paper put out for waste collection is owned by the waste disposal service Abdul's News & Wine contracts with the city's waste disposal company. Under that contract, he may give his waste to the ...
Trish's user avatar
  • 37.4k
26 votes

Does a private citizen in the US have the right to make a "Contact the Police" poster?

This is entirely legal and commonly done. The risk of defamation liability to the suspect is minimal. Under New York Times v. Sullivan 376 U.S. 254 (1964) and related cases, to prevail in defamation ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 206k
25 votes
Accepted

If someone steals something of mine, is it legal to steal it back?

As the previous reply says, you can't steal something if it was yours already. That's by definition – stealing can only be of something that isn't your possession. However there are three ways you ...
Stilez's user avatar
  • 3,189
23 votes
Accepted

Theft on golf course

Individual lost balls are generally considered to be abandoned property, and finders may keep them unless the golf course specifically forbids it as a matter of policy. However, large scale recovery ...
Michael Hall's user avatar
  • 4,265
21 votes

If a family member has taken a possession of mine for a long period of time, is that theft?

Yes, this is illegal. If by "across the state" you mean some distance away but in the same state then the exact law will depend on which state you are in, but as a rule any "conversion" of property to ...
Paul Johnson's user avatar
  • 13.2k
19 votes
Accepted

Do Donald Trump's actions constitute embezzlement?

Embezzlement is criminally prohibited by 18 USC 666, and this DoJ manual page on what is embezzlement cites the answer in Moore v. United States, 160 U.S. 268 that Embezzlement is the fraudulent ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
18 votes

Why shouldn't a bank robbery without threats be legal?

You can't have it both ways. Either the person used words or actions that, under the circumstances, caused the teller to reasonably fear that violence will occur if the money isn't given or they didn'...
David Schwartz's user avatar
17 votes
Accepted

Liability for explosive theft prevention

Yes. This sounds equivalent to the famous case of Katko v. Briney, 183 N.W.2d 657 (Iowa 1971). A shotgun trap was set up in an abandoned house owned by Edward and Bertha Briney. A thief broke in ...
User65535's user avatar
  • 6,536
16 votes

Why shouldn't a bank robbery without threats be legal?

How is this different than say people asking for charity donations in the street? Context is everything. Obviously, someone asking for charity donations on the street will present themselves as a ...
BlueDogRanch's user avatar
  • 18.8k
15 votes
Accepted

At what point does something become theft?

The crime of theft generally requires two elements - taking control of property, and the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it. If Bob had no intent to leave without paying, he may lack the ...
Nuclear Hoagie's user avatar
14 votes
Accepted

Is it illegal to take home a lost phone?

There are two issues, one is the legal issue of whether what you are doing is a crime, and the other is the evidentiary issue of proving that that is what happened. If you take the phone home with ...
Patrick Conheady's user avatar
14 votes
Accepted

How much authority do teachers get from *In Loco Parentis*?

The school can confiscate a cell phone if you violated phone usage policy, because schools have broad powers to set student conduct policies. Searching the phone is a separate matter: a search ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible