If you have recently been charged with theft, you probably feel overwhelmed and scared. You worry about the potential consequences it may have on your future employment, housing situation and personal relationships. However, if you hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer, he or she can build you a strong defense, increasing the chance of a better outcome on your case.


Here are some of the most common theft defenses:


Claim of Right or Ownership of Property


If you’ve been charged with theft, you may be able to defend your case if you can prove that you honestly believed that the property was yours. However, this defense isn’t as simple as just saying you thought the property was yours. Your criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you find the appropriate evidence to support your claim that you believed the property was yours.


It Was an Accident


To get convicted of theft, it must be proven that you intentionally took property and knew that you weren’t going to give it back. If you committed theft by a complete accident, you may have a valid defense. For example, let’s say you were at a grocery store and opened up a bottle of soda and drank it while you were shopping. When you came up to the cash register, you forgot to tell the cashier to charge you for the soda. You may be able to claim that you didn’t mean to commit theft.


You Were Intoxicated


If you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the theft, you may be able to use that as your defense. This is because intoxication can impair your judgment and you could mistakenly take an item you thought belonged to you. For instance, if you were at a bar and took someone’s jacket by mistake because you were too drunk, you may have a good defense.




It’s also possible to get out of a theft charge if you can prove entrapment. The entrapment defense could come into play if the idea to steal came from the entrapping person, with the goal of prosecuting the targeted individual. 


Consulting With a Criminal Defense Lawyer


If you were charged with theft, it’s important to talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer about your case as soon as possible. Theft is a serious charge and shouldn’t be taken lightly. A criminal defense lawyer in Arlington, VA can build you a strong defense, offer protection from the police and represent you in court.


Thanks to May Law, LLP for their insight into criminal law and common defenses for theft.