Theft charges can result in heavy fines and jail time. Misdemeanor theft charges can result in up to one year in jail and felony theft charges may result in one to 10 years in prison. Because of the steep penalties associated with theft charges, it is essential for accused individuals to know how to defend themselves against theft charges.
Defenses against theft charges
There are several different methods of defending against theft charges and the best possible defense depends on the situation and circumstances. Possible defenses to theft charges include:
- Claim of right or ownership over the property: the accused individual may wish to defend against theft charges on the basis that they had a good faith belief that the property they were accused of taking was theirs or that they had a valid claim to the property.
- Intoxication: the accused individual may have a defense that they were intoxicated at the time of the crime which prevented them from being able to form the intent element of the crime which is necessary to commit the crime of theft.
- Return the property: returning the item taken is not typically a defense to a theft crime but may help the accused individual in the court’s eyes.
- Entrapment: entrapment is a possible defense when the accused individual was induced to commit a crime by a government official they otherwise would not have committed.
There are a variety of different criminal defense options when faced with theft charges. Being prepared to defend against theft charges is important because the consequences of theft charges can have a significant impact on the accused individual’s life. There are many ways to attack the accusations and alleged evidence against the accused individual and it is important to ensure their rights are protected throughout the process.