Theft Charge Criminal Defense Attorney
Have you been arrested and charged with a theft crime? It is important for you to obtain sound legal counsel to help you make a defense against your theft charge. McGinn Law, Criminal Defense Attorney helps those facing misdemeanor and felony theft related charges.
Having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your case can help increase your chance of reducing your charges or having them dropped. There are numerous possible plausible defenses for the charges made against you.
Common Types of Theft Defenses
Below are some of the common defenses that can be applied in theft cases.
Claim of Ownership
A claim of ownership or right of a property is perhaps one typical theft defense strategy. In general, this means you can likely avoid conviction if you can show to the court that the property alleged to have been stolen was actually yours – or you had valid reason to believe it was yours. But, do not expect that the process will get easier once you state that the property belongs to you. You will need to provide substantial proof and support to back your claim.
In some cases, defendants may be able to use the “I was drunk” excuse – a form of defense in which the defendant was intoxicated beyond the point of intent to commit theft.
Entrapment applies in cases where the idea to steal, or the intent to commit the crime, was provided by another person (usually a police officer) in hopes that the defendant “takes the bait” and follows through with the crime – all in hopes of arresting the defendant. Essentially, the defendant is tricked into committing a crime, theft in this instance, so that they can be arrested.
Return of Property
While returning the stolen property does not essentially provide a solid defense to a theft charge, it can certainly draw a more sympathetic image for the prosecutor and is used in pursuit of a possible plea deal.
An individual could also use a similar defense against criminal theft charge if he or she claims that it was just borrowed or forgot to return that possession – that you did have the intent to return the item at the time your borrowed it.
Accident or Mistake
You can easily be charged with theft if you bring merchandise into a store bathroom with you or putting it in the pocket of your hoodie while continue to shop around. It appears that you were planning to shoplift, but in actuality you just made poor judgement and did not actually mean (or intent) to steal the item.
Degrees of Theft in the State Law
Particularly in Florida, a few degrees of theft are available as a way of determining the severity of a theft crime.
- Petty Theft. If the stolen item is valued below $100, then the punishment may not exceed more than $1,000 in fines and more than 1 year of prison time.
- Grand Theft. The stolen item is valued over $300. It can also be any amount of a controlled substance. Penalties include $10,000 in fines and up to 30 years in jail time. A stolen item from the private household of a person that is valued between $100 and $300 may be considered as grand theft as well.
Contact a Theft Lawyer
If you have been charged with a theft crime, do not attempt to defend yourself alone. You can share the battle and your struggles with a reliable criminal defense attorney. McGinn Law defends defendants throughout the greater Tampa Bay area – contact our office if you or someone you know has been charged or is being investigated for committing a theft.