The difference between criminal conversion and theft

In this article, we will let you know the difference between criminal conversion and theft. Theft refers to taking someone’s property and using it for one’s own needs. Meanwhile, criminal conversion involves taking the property through lawful means and selling it illegally, or trading it off.

Defining theft and criminal conversion in detail

Theft is a crime and the thief may be persecuted in a criminal court or a civil court. Criminal activity will lead to a criminal court hearing. No persecuting lawyer is used for criminal conversion. The case commences in a civil court and the plaintiff charges the defendant and attempts to get compensated financially for stolen property, through a legal procedure.

If a legal process is deemed necessary by the court, it is because the property has been converted for the perpetrator’s personal use and that is illegal. Taking someone’s belongings or real estate property would trigger such a process. The perpetrator would need a legal lawyer to defend him in the case.


What is exactly theft by conversion

There are certain states that have specified legal procedures to clear a person’s name against theft involving conversions. These procedures are put into action when illegal means are used to convert property for personal utilization. For instance, a property is rented or a car is borrowed, by a person, in lieu of the payment of a certain amount to the owner of the property, and the said property or vehicle is to be used for a specified period only.

In the event if the said property or machinery is converted into the person’s personal property for his or her own use, it is deemed as illegal. Felony charges can follow but it depends on certain factors such as, how much an individual has taken and how forcefully the property or machinery was taken from the rightful owner.

What really is the difference

Many US states consider theft as illegal. There are also many states that consider criminal conversion as the inherent nature of crime. In both cases the property of someone is taken illegally, and this alone makes it a crime. Theft can also result in robbery or burglary in which someone could sustain injury. Theft by conversion revolves around only monetary theft. Once rented or borrowed property is converted into the tenant’s property or the borrower’s property then it is a crime.

The different versions of theft

As mentioned earlier, theft is a crime, that is, until a person steals a specific amount, or there is any kind of violence involved.

If a property is lost, this will be considered as a theft as well. The person believed to be responsible will not be charged until the owner is sure who was responsible.

Why have civil courts

A civil court or a criminal court is responsible to examine the theft charges on the defendant. Whenever justice must support compensation for any theft committed, then the case is taken care of by a civil court. But it is not always the case that the person accused might have to pay restitution only, depending on the case. If any type of restitution does not serve justice, then a victim may have to file a lawsuit. Property taken from a person might compel the victim to get a lawyer to fight a case to get compensation.


The defendant in either case of theft or criminal conversion, a perpetrator, for sure, needs a criminal defense attorney. If the case is filed in a civil court, the perpetrator will need an attorney to defend him or her against the claims of the plaintiff. The attorney will first try to prove the perpetrator is wrongly accused of the crime. Or in the case the criminal conversion does hold true, the attorney will do his best to lessen the charges or even convincingly prove the perpetrator does not stand liable for any damages.

Recent Posts