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Michael A. Gottlieb, P.A.
“Out of the Box” Defense Strategy
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Theft defenses: Avoiding a conviction

As someone who has been accused of stealing from another person, your first instinct may be to try to defend yourself. It's important that you take a step back and talk to your attorney before you do so. There is no urgency for you to try to explain yourself, and doing so could actually hurt your case.

In cases of theft, it's the responsibility of the prosecution to determine if you are guilty of the crime. The prosecution has to convince the court that you're responsible for a criminal act based on the evidence. If the prosecution doesn't have the evidence to present to the court or can't present it in a convincing way, you may never have to say anything in your defense and be able to walk away without a conviction.

There are a number of defenses for theft you can try in other circumstances. Your attorney may suggest defenses such as proving you didn't steal the item or that you were set up. You may want to use intoxication as a defense, since it shows you had no intent to steal, or you could use a defense showing that you returned the property that was allegedly stolen.

In most cases, a strong defense can help in various ways. It can result in a finding of your innocence, or it can help reduce the potential penalties you'll face if you go to court and are convicted. Before you talk to police, discuss the options with your attorney. The right choices now can make a significant difference in your case.

Source: FindLaw, "Theft Defenses," accessed Sep. 20, 2017

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