This article gives you the key differences between theft and misappropriation which people often confuse and sometimes such confusion creates wrong action when exercising the rights as an injured person especially deadline to start the cases which completely different between these two offenses. 10 years for theft while the prescription of the misappropriation is only 3 months.1


Theft means whoever dishonestly takes away the thing of another person or the thing of another person being co-owner. Misappropriation means whoever is in possession of another person’s property or the thing of another person being co-owner, dishonestly takes away such a thing to himself or a third person.

The same action of both offenses is dishonest taking something from someone else.

The difference between them is that misappropriation always starts with being in possession of something belonging to someone while theft isn’t! In other words, misappropriation is when someone takes away something from someone else while the thing is in his possession. Theft is when someone takes away something from someone else while the thing isn’t in his possession.


Sunny is a sales manager who works in a furniture store and she dishonestly takes away furniture for herself, it is the misappropriation offense. If Sunny takes away some personal belongings of her employer which she has never been in possession such as his employer’s jewelry, it is a theft offense.


Theft, shall be maximum imprisoned not exceeding three years AND maximum fine of six-thousand Baht. Misappropriation, shall be maximum imprisonment not exceeding three years OR fined not exceeding six-thousand Baht, OR both..


Theft is a 10 years prescription while misappropriation is only 3 months for prescription! So, don’t be confused when someone takes something from you with dishonest intention. The deadline to start legal action is a big difference! Misappropriation gives an injured person only 3 months to start the case. Criminal lawsuits sometimes help an injured person to get his/her belongings back quickly.

Compoundable and non compoundable offenses

This makes a big difference between the two of them. Theft is non compoundable offenses, when the case initiated by public judicial services, the injured person can not stop the case. But the misappropriation is a compoundable offense whether the prosecution initiated by public juridical servicer or the injured person’s lawyer, the injured person has a right to stop the case at any time before the final judgment.2

Hope this article is useful. If you are in need of a criminal lawyer or for more information, We Can Help.


  1. The Criminal Code, Section 95 and 96, 334 and 352
  2. The Criminal Proceeding Code, Section 35