What Are the Defenses to Theft?
If you are convicted of theft, even if it is a misdemeanor, it can have severe consequences in your life. It can impact employment, professional licensing, and other aspects of your life. Theft charges are usually based on the dollar amount involved and vary from misdemeanors to serious felonies. There may be some defenses that a theft defense lawyer can use for your charges.
Lack of Presence
A theft defense lawyer can defend you with an alibi, which means that you can prove you were somewhere other than where the theft occurred. The prosecutor's job is to prove that you were present when the theft occurred. While your lawyer does not have to prove you have an alibi, it can provide the jury with reasonable doubt.
Lack of Intent
Depending on the type of theft, such as retail fraud, you may have left the store without knowing the item was not paid for. An item can be at the bottom of your cart or put in the bag without you being charged for it. In these cases, you may not have the intent to steal the item. If your theft defense lawyer can convince the jury you did not intend to steal, they may find you not guilty.
Claim to the Property
For you to be found guilty of theft, you must intend to steal the item. If your theft defense lawyer can prove that you believe the item you took rightfully belongs to you, that eliminates intent. Your lawyer must prove that you have a claim of right to the item, and the jury may deliver a not guilty verdict.
If you did commit the crime, but you were encouraged or made to commit the crime by someone who has the sole purpose of prosecuting you or someone else involved in the crime, this is considered entrapment. It is illegal for someone to entrap you, and your theft defense lawyer must prove it.
When you are charged with theft, there is a potential for jail time if you are found guilty. There could be a number of reasons why you were charged. These include making an innocent mistake to being charged with entrapment. Therefore, you must make the appropriate plea at the right time. A theft defense lawyer is equipped to help you create the best defense.