Theft and theft related criminal charges (larceny, shoplifting) are among the most common crimes charged in criminal courts.
A theft or larceny charge can range from a relatively minor retail shoplifting incident to a large criminal enterprise in stealing and trafficking in stolen goods. But any theft charge is a serious incident in your life and serious threat to your future.
Criminal convictions have to be reported on most job applications, so having to admit to a criminal theft charge could hinder your ability to get a job for years down the road.
Whatever happened to lead to a theft charge in criminal court, you need the best help you can get to defend and protect right rights. Whether you did something you now regret or if you are innocent of the charges against you, being labeled a “suspect” or a “defendant” is nothing short of life altering. Now that you are in that position, you need the help of a criminal defense attorney advocate on your behalf, ready to fight for you.
Theft Laws Defined
Theft involves the taking of goods or services that you have no legal right to. The following are some pretty common examples of theft:
- Employee Theft
- Obtaining control over property that you have no right over
- Obtaining services without payment
- Possessing property that you have reason to believe is stolen
- Finding property and not making an effort to return it to its rightful owner
The charges you face for your theft offense depend mostly on the value of the goods or services in question.
Most states have a misdemeanor theft charge, often referred to as petty theft. This charge applies when the value of the goods or services stolen is under a specific amount. In some states, a misdemeanor theft caps out at $1,000 while for others, a theft under $500 is considered petty theft.
Misdemeanors are punishable by less than one year in jail along with fines.
When you are accused of depriving someone of their property or services in the amount that exceeds the petty theft limit, you will be charged with a felony. The higher the value, the more serious of a criminal charge you will face.
Most states have passed separate identity theft laws with the dawn of a new age. Today, identity theft is the fastest growing form of theft there is.
Identity theft involves using someone else’s personal or identifying information to gain financially. It may be by acting as if you are that person or using such things as their social security number to gain goods or services on credit.
In most states, identity theft is a felony charge that is prosecuted to the fullest extent. When up against a charge that is constantly making headlines, you want to be certain you have an aggressive advocate on your side.
Can You Beat a Theft Charge?
Absolutely. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you did the act and, in most cases, that you intended to do it.
It is entirely possible to be accused of a theft charge and be completely innocent. That’s why being arrested is not the same thing as being guilty
- You may have been with someone else who stolen something, but you had nothing to do with it.
- You may have picked up something in a retail store and not paid for it by mistake.
- You make be accused and be a victim of mistaken identity, or been in the wrong place at the wrong time.
- You may be in possession of stolen property without knowing about out it.
And there are countless other scenarios where you know you are absolutely innocent, but still facing criminal charges.
Unfortunately, it will still take a lawyer to defend you, argue your case, and help you fight the charges and clear your name. witnesses can be wrong, and people make mistakes, but may not be willing to readily admit them. Even though it isn’t fair and isn’t your fault, it can sometimes take some legal wrangling to get a criminal legal problem solved.
I Know I am Guilty and Want to Make This Go Away as Quickly as Possible.
In cases of shoplifting / retail theft, this is a common situation and response. You are embarrassed and ashamed that in a moment of bad judgment or desperation, you make a dumb mistake that you sincerely regret, and wish never happened.
Even if you are prepared to admit guilt and accept the consequences, it can still be critically important to have a lawyer on your side.
If there is an opportunity to make the charges go away in exchange for restitution, or other alternatives that can avoid a permanent criminal conviction on your record, then that is worth fighting for. We may be able to work out a beneficial plea agreement with the prosecution on the case that can leave everyone satisfied.
Everyone deserves a second chance, and you definitely don’t deserve a harsh sentence that you could end up with if you go into court by yourself.
In more serious cases, with more valuable items taken, or a second offense, probation can still be an option. Of course, we want to avoid the prospect of you facing any jail time.
Criminal theft cases take many forms – every case is unique. So it takes an experienced criminal defense lawyer to evaluate your case and lay out the options to face to defend yourself in court. Whether you face larceny, shoplifting, or any theft-related charge, take advantage of a legal consultation to find out what a defense attorney can do for you.