When accused of theft, individuals have legal defenses to challenge the allegations. These defenses, if applicable, can potentially lead to a reduction in charges or even an acquittal.
Regardless of the charges, everyone deserves a fair legal process. With a solid defense, you can rest assured that you receive just treatment in a court of law.
Lack of intent
One common defense against theft charges is the assertion of “lack of intent.” This defense argues that the accused did not have the intention to permanently deprive the owner of their property. In some cases, individuals may have unknowingly taken an item, mistakenly believing it was theirs. Lack of intent can be a strong defense, as theft typically requires a deliberate intention to steal.
Claim of right
A “claim of right” defense contends that the accused believed they had a legitimate right to the property in question. This may arise in situations where there is a dispute over ownership or if the accused genuinely thought they had permission to take the item. Establishing a sincere belief in a rightful claim can be a persuasive defense against theft allegations.
If the owner of the property permitted the accused to take it, the act cannot amount to theft. However, proving that the consent was genuine and not obtained through deception or coercion is essential.
Sometimes, individuals may be wrongly accused due to mistaken identity. If the person charged with theft was not the one who committed the crime, this defense can lead to exoneration. Clear evidence, such as alibi witnesses or surveillance footage, may be crucial in establishing mistaken identity.
This defense argues that the accused had to take the property to prevent greater harm. For instance, if someone stole food because they were starving and had no other means to obtain sustenance, the court may consider a necessity defense.
As reported by the FBI, theft rates in 2019 were 1,549.5 for every 100,000 people. For individuals facing theft charges, the right legal defense can make all the difference to the outcome of the case.