Is it a felony to borrow money from the safe of my place of employment if I was given permission to do so?

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Is it a felony to borrow money from the safe of my place of employment if I was given permission to do so?

I am an assistant manager at a restaurant. My store manager has given permission to not only myself, but

other managers, to borrow money from our store safe as long as we put it back the following pay day. Last

Saturday, I borrowed just over $200 from the safe. Now, I’m being charged with felony theft, as well as breaking and entering. I have text message from my store manager giving permission to borrow the money.

Asked on May 10, 2017 under Criminal Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

With permission from someone who apparently had authority (the store manager), it should not be a crime, as long as you *reasonably* believed the manager had the authority to do this (e.g. there was no notice or directive from someone more senior that this could not be done; you had reason to think the manager had authority over the money in the safe). If you reasonably and in good faith believed you had the authority and permission to do this, you would not have had the required "criminal intent" (or "mens rea") to make it a crime, since you thought you were doing something legal and permitted. They key is, your belief in your right to do this MUST have been reasonable--if there was any reason to believe to the contrary (e.g. to think the manager did not in fact have the authority to do this), then it would not be a defense.


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