Preparing A Defense Against Arizona Theft Charges
Theft is an umbrella term that covers multiple criminal actions. Theft can be committed with or without force, and as a felony or a misdemeanor. No matter the classification of your theft charges, you’re going to need an experienced and aggressive attorney to defend you against theft charges in Tucson.
The Difference Between Theft And Similar Charges
There are physical and intangible kinds of theft. Stealing a car (theft of means of transportation) is different from stealing someone’s identity – identity theft is its own type of crime. Theft implies that someone took or used something that belonged to another, without permission, with the intent to deprive that person of it in some way.
Robbery is different from theft, in that it requires that force or violence or threats were used to obtain the property from the person’s immediate area. Theft does not require aggression – simply taking someone’s laptop from a coffee shop while they left it unattended would constitute theft, whereas robbery would involve in some sense forcefully taking the laptop from a person sitting there with it.
The Legal Consequences Of Theft
Any theft or shoplift below $250 in value is a misdemeanor. If the value of the stolen property doesn’t exceed $250, the crime is pursued as a misdemeanor and punishment can involve restitution and up to six months in jail.
When the theft exceeds $250 in value, it becomes a felony. The higher the dollar value, the higher the degree of felony class. If many thousands of dollars in value were stolen, charges can escalate all the way up to a Class 2 felony and be punishable by over 12 years in prison.
If you are unable to adequately defend yourself against theft charges, the consequences can be staggering. Even a misdemeanor theft charge can make your life difficult, as employers have a tendency to actively avoid people legally labelled as thieves. You can’t afford to be convicted of theft.
Defending Allegations Of Theft
Theft can sometimes be rooted in misunderstanding or accident. We can review the circumstances of your case to build a defense that will outline a lack of intent. Every case is different, but there are certain underlying themes in many theft cases that have been successfully used to dispute facts of the crime.
Property Was Temporarily Used
You borrowed your neighbor’s lawn mower, started mowing your grass, and a huge storm rolled it. You hurriedly brought the lawn mower into your garage, and after a few days of bad weather, forgot to return the lawn mower to your neighbor. Should this be considered theft?
If you borrowed something that you accidentally held onto for a little too long, that may be inconsiderate. But there is a huge difference between inconsiderate behavior and criminal behavior. If you had the intention of returning something, this punches holes in the strength of a theft case.
You Had Claim Over the Property
Your mother left behind a family heirloom that she promised you. You took this heirloom, but your brother feels equally as entitled to it. He calls the cops and calls it theft. You live in an apartment with a roommate, and you share a game console. You took that console when you left, feeling that you’d spent more money on downloadable content than your roommate did. He presses charges.
Situations like these aren’t always clear cut. If you feel as though you have a claim to rightful ownership of the property found in your possession and you have facts to support your ownership claim, it can be proven that you didn’t steal anything at all.
You Were Set Up
A former boyfriend left his eReader at your house and then calls the police claiming theft in an attempt to seek revenge over a breakup. Your brother allows you to borrow his car while he’s mad at you, and then calls the police to state that you stole it.
You’re charged with theft, but you didn’t actually commit a crime. If you had permission or the facts of the case were staged, you might be able to turn the tables around.
Your Mental State Was Affected
You had a little too much to drink, and you woke up with someone else’s belongings in your pocket. If you were under the influence and you accidentally took something, this can be used to diminish the case against you – particularly if you can prove an attempt to right the wrong.
Theft Was Returned Or Repaid
When all else fails, returning the property or repaying the amount owed for the stolen property can prove that you’re sorry. Even if the circumstances would prove that a crime took place, the prosecutor may look more favorably on someone who decided to do the right thing without being forced to.
Building Your Defense
If you’re facing theft charges in Tucson, Arizona, you need a reputable and aggressive attorney to build your defense. You can contact Doug Taylor Law now to schedule a free consultation, whether you’re at home or you’re currently incarcerated. We will review your case, help you prepare a strategy, and fight for your freedom and future!