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Common defenses against theft charges

Were you accused of theft or larceny? If someone accused you of stealing something that wasn’t rightfully yours, you might be facing criminal allegations in court. Perhaps someone is claiming that you took his or her bicycle unlawfully, or maybe a department store is saying that you stole an expensive article of clothing.

Regardless the circumstances of your theft allegations, you might be able to defend yourself against the charges with one of several larceny defense strategies.

How to defend against theft charges

Let’s first understand the definition of larceny in a legal context. Theft involves (1) the unlawful taking of (2) another party’s property (3) without the individual’s consent and (4) with the intention to permanently deprive the party of his or her property.

Defending against a larceny or theft charge may involve the defendant showing that one or more of the four elements was not present in his or her situation. The first order of defense, therefore, usually involves the defendant zeroing in on why one or more of these elements was not present.

Defenses for when you admit to taking the property

Some other great defenses may apply in cases where you admit to taking the property at issue. The most important of these arguments include:

— Defense of ownership: If you can prove that you own the property in question, or that you have a legitimate claim to the property, you may be able to nullify the charge of theft or larceny.

— Defense of entrapment: Let’s say someone induced you to commit a theft crime that you wouldn’t normally be inclined to carry out. Perhaps a police officer convinced you to steal something. This might happen if a law enforcement officer asks you to commit a specific crime.

— Defense of consent: You might be able to show that the owner of the property in question gave you permission to take it. If this is shown to be the case, a crime of larceny cannot stick.

— Defense of duress: It’s not uncommon for a gang or some other person in power to force someone to steal. You might be forced by blackmail, threats of violence, or threats of some other kind of negative repercussion to carry out a theft. If you can prove that this happened in your case, then you probably will not be found guilty of theft.

Get your theft defense strategy organized as soon as possible

Georgia residents accused of theft will want to prepare their criminal defense strategies as soon as possible. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can review the elements associated with your theft allegations to determine the most appropriate defense choices available to suit your needs.