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Theft (sometimes called larceny) is a serious criminal charge. It is usually defined as the unlawful taking of the personal property of another person or business. The consequences of a theft conviction can be quite severe. Defending yourself against a serious criminal charge is a frightening experience. Your freedom is on the line. You need the assistance of an aggressive Abilene theft lawyer who has won these kinds of cases before and is ready to fight hard for your rights. Retain an adept criminal defense attorney that can defend you.
Potential Consequences of Theft
There is a big difference between routine legal work and defending against a criminal accusation like theft. Instead of just having to pay damages, a person could be deprived of liberty for months or years, which could have a catastrophic impact on that person’s career and family.
Taking someone’s property by violence or the threat of violence – the general definition of robbery – is always seen as a serious crime. The law also prohibits theft by deception – using any dishonest methods with the intent of taking someone’s property.
Sometimes a person will make a contract to perform services for another individual, who later claims that their money was taken but the deal was not honored. This could be an ordinary breach of contract case, but a prosecutor might try to define it as theft via deceitful means.
State of Mind
As in many criminal prosecutions, the state of mind of the defendant is a crucial element. A person deceives if he intentionally creates or confirms another’s impression of an existing fact or past event that is false and that the accused knows or believes to be false.
Proving a person’s state of mind can be much more difficult than proving that some action took place. A smart Abilene theft lawyer may argue that the state has failed to show that the accused person acted with bad intent.
The greater the value of the property that was taken, the tougher the penalty. If the theft involves property valued at $500 or less, the crime is generally punished as a misdemeanor, which involves a fine of no more than $1,000 and a sentence of imprisonment of no more than 12 months. But anything above $500 can lead to a felony conviction.
Burden of Proof
Facing such charges can be tough, but one should always keep in mind that the prosecutors must prove all the elements of their case beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The government has the burden of showing that the alleged theft was done on purpose, not just an accident or misunderstanding
- The government is not allowed to use hearsay—out of court statements—to prove its case
- The government must show that any searches were conducted in accord with the requirements of the US and the Texas Constitutions
Misidentifications – where the police arrested the wrong person – happen all the time, and they are particularly frequent in theft and robbery cases. An experienced Abilene theft lawyer may know the most effective ways of cross-examining identification witnesses.
Talking to an Abilene Theft Attorney
An Abilene theft lawyer will review your situation with care and understanding. The attorney knows that anyone can make a mistake and that every criminal defendant is entitled to the most vigorous possible representation. The theft lawyer will bring their intelligence, diligence, and experience to bear in order to vindicate your rights. If you are facing a serious criminal charge such as theft, contact an attorney right away.