While lawyers and judges are the ultimate legal experts, of course, I believe that every citizen should take the time to learn a little about law for several reasons. First, it is important to know your rights, and knowing them can come in handy if anyone ever accuses you of a crime you didn't commit or threatens you legally in another other way. Second, learning about your local, state, and federal laws can help you act as a better citizen. When election time comes around, you can then truly understand ever change in law being proposed by a candidate and whether it benefits society or not. I plan to share posts about law topics explained in plain English on my new blog, so you can come back often to sharpen your legal knowledge!
You don't have to rob a store to be accused of theft. If you took someone else's property, you could be charged with theft. Another individual can bring charges of theft against you, and if the police agree with the accusations, you can be charged with theft. Facing a theft charge can be scary, as it carries legal consequences.
There are multiple possible defenses that an attorney can use to help you fight a theft charge, including that you didn't take the other person's property, that you were intoxicated, or that you thought the item was your own property. The following tactics can help you address these charges as best as you can and reach a positive resolution.
You Didn't Take the Item
To be charged with theft, you generally need to have the item in your possession, or it needs to be clearly established that you took the item or were seen with it in your possession. If someone accused you of taking an item and has no clear evidence that you took it and the police didn't find it on you or at one of your properties, it should be easy to establish that you didn't take the item and that no theft occurred.
You Were Intoxicated
If you took an item when you were intoxicated, you can use your intoxication as a defense strategy. Your defense attorney can argue that you didn't intend to steal the item and that you didn't intend to deprive anyone of their property. If you can prove that you were intoxicated and didn't know what you were doing, you will establish your defense.
You Thought the Item Was Yours
Another strategy is arguing that you thought the item was yours. For this defense to work, you generally need to be able to reasonably prove that you thought the item was yours.
For example, if you took a backpack that was the same color or brand as your own, or you took a coat that looked just like your own coat. In that case, you can argue that you taking the item was a case of mistaken identity, not a case of you trying to deprive someone of something they own.
Or perhaps you thought someone was gifting you an item when they were not. If you can establish that you thought they were giving you a gift and you only took the item because you thought they were giving it to you, you have a more solid case.
If you are accused of theft, a good defense attorney will help you show to the courts that you didn't intend to steal the item and can help address the charges against you.