A charge of theft can feel serious for a Florida resident who is unsure of how to protect their own rights and interests. While it is not possible to make guarantees under the law or regarding the outcomes of specific cases, it can benefit some individuals to seek the help of criminal defense attorneys when legal challenges arise. This post will introduce some of the possible defenses that may serve criminal defendants facing theft charges, but readers are reminded that no part of this post should be read as specific legal advice.
Mistake as a defense to theft
At the core of a theft charge is the assertion that the accused intended to take something that did not belong to them. However, it is possible for a person to mistakenly take something that is not theirs when they believe that it is actually their own possession. For some individuals, mistake may serve as a possible defense strategy to theft.
Ownership of property as a defense to theft
A person cannot steal their own property. To this end, a charge of theft cannot rest upon a taking that is the accused’s own item. Proof that a defendant is the rightful owner of an allegedly stolen good can prove useful in a case for theft.
Intent to return as a defense to theft
Similar to mistake but based on other facts, an intent to return a taken item can serve as a theft defense when it is properly argued and supported with evidence. In such a case a defendant may claim that they knowingly took something from another person, but that they did not intend to deprive the other of the property permanently. Instead, they may claim that they intended to return it when they were done using it.
These are only a few of the defense strategy options that individuals may use when they are charged with theft. All theft charges are based on different facts and therefore different defenses should be used to address different case needs. A criminal defense attorney can prove helpful to men and women who are facing these and other criminal charges.