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Top Defenses For Theft

Criminal Defense Lawyer

When charged with stealing, also known as theft, several defenses can be employed to challenge the accusations and protect your rights. The specific defenses available may vary depending on the jurisdiction and circumstances of the case. Here are some common defenses that can be used when facing theft charges:

  1. Lack of Intent: One of the primary defenses in theft cases is demonstrating that there was no intent to steal. Intent is a crucial element of theft offenses, and if it can be shown that you did not have the intention to permanently deprive someone of their property, it may serve as a valid defense. For example, if you mistakenly believed that you had permission to take an item, or if you genuinely believed the item belonged to you, it can weaken the prosecution’s case.
  2. Mistaken Identity: If you can establish that you were misidentified as the person responsible for the theft, this defense can be employed. Mistaken identity can occur due to faulty eyewitness identification or inadequate evidence linking you to the crime. By presenting alibis, surveillance footage, or witnesses who can confirm your whereabouts at the time of the alleged theft, you can cast doubt on the accuracy of the identification and strengthen your defense.
  3. Lack of Evidence: Challenging the evidence presented by the prosecution is another potential defense strategy. This defense aims to expose weaknesses in the evidence or highlight gaps in the case against you. For instance, if there is insufficient evidence linking you to the stolen property or if the prosecution’s evidence is circumstantial, it can cast doubt on your guilt.
  4. Consent: If you can demonstrate that you had the owner’s consent to possess or take the property, it can be a valid defense against theft charges. For example, if you were given permission to borrow an item and there was no intention to permanently deprive the owner of it, you may argue that you acted within the bounds of consent.
  5. Duress or Coercion: In some cases, individuals may engage in theft under duress or coercion. If your lawyer, like a criminal defense lawyer from a law firm like Tuttle Larsen, P.A., can prove that you were compelled to commit the theft due to threats, coercion, or fear for your safety or the safety of others, it can serve as a defense. However, the success of this defense relies on providing evidence of duress or coercion and demonstrating that you had no reasonable alternative but to commit the theft.
  6. Ownership Dispute: If you genuinely believed that you had a legitimate claim to the property in question, you may argue that it was a civil dispute over ownership rather than theft. For example, if you believed the property belonged to you due to a previous agreement or misunderstanding, it may be possible to raise this as a defense.

It is important to consult with an experienced lawyer to determine the best defense strategy for your particular case. They can assess the evidence, advise you on applicable laws and defenses, and guide you through the legal process to protect your rights and mount a strong defense against the theft charges you are facing. Reach out to a local lawyer for help now.