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Published September 14, 2012, 08:44 AM

Defense lawyers want changes in North Dakota felony penalty

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A group of North Dakota defense attorneys believe that stealing $500 shouldn't mean a felony charge.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A group of North Dakota defense attorneys believe that stealing $500 shouldn't mean a felony charge.

Bismarck attorney Paul Myerchin is a spokesman for the North Dakota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Myerchin says the group wants to raise the threshold for a felony theft charge to $1,500.

A person would have to steal at least $1,500 worth of goods or services to be charged with a felony crime.

Right now, a person who steals more than $500 can be charged with a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.

Myerchin says the $500 threshold has been in place for more than 30 years. He says the figure would be more than $2,000 if it were adjusted for inflation.

The Legislature may be asked to make the change.

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