Theft is a crime that is taken seriously, and can even result in felony charges depending on the circumstances of the initial theft. The crime takes on added seriousness because often the alleged victims of theft feel that they have been personally wronged, and had their rights violated, making them more upset. With these reasons in mind, it is important to have an experienced theft attorney on your side, who has knowledge of which Stafford County theft defense strategies will best suit your case.
While there are many defense strategies available, every case is different and the facts of the case dictate the best tactic to use. There are two broad areas to consider when building a defense for a theft case in Stafford County.
One is whether there is any factual problem with the government’s case that makes it difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt any element of their case. For example, if the government does not have a witness or is lacking a necessary bit of evidence they need.
Another defense is whether an individual’s constitutional rights were violated anywhere during the process in a way that allows the defense to suppress evidence.
For example, when a person was illegally detained, they were illegally searched, or they made an un-Mirandized statement that the government plans to use against them. These are all strategies to use to keep evidence out of the trial. In many cases, this is the best strategy for winning.
To be convicted of a theft charge, the government must prove that the person took and concealed, altered, or carried away property that belongs to someone else without their permission. They did so with the intention to permanently deprive them of that property.
It is not illegal to borrow something. When that issue is in question, the defense attorney determines whether the government can prove the element of permanently depriving. In fact, one of the potential Stafford County theft defense strategies that an individual could use is the argument that the person was borrowing whatever was taken.
In most cases, there is circumstantial evidence. The question is whether the facts and circumstances that surround the taking of the item show an intention in the person’s mind to borrow or to keep the item.
When there is a situation where the object or the item is taken under circumstances that make it appear there is no intention to return it, that can be problematic. However, if there is any argument that the intention may not have existed and there are facts and circumstances that point to some other intention, that can be used in the course of defending the case.
It is important to keep in mind that it is not up to the person who is charged to prove a reality where those things are true. Rather, it is up to the government to disprove a reconcilable hypothesis of innocence.
No matter which Stafford County theft defense strategies, a lawyer chooses, evidence is always a vital part of crafting that defense.There is always testimonial or witness evidence presented in these cases. Someone must be able to say that they saw the person take something or the person was caught with those items in their possession.
Witness evidence and the credibility of witnesses are always important. The opportunity of those witnesses to know the truth or to observe what they claim to have observed is important.
In addition, there is always an issue of value. The government must prove a certain value whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony case. For misdemeanor cases in Virginia, the government must prove that the item or items had some value. In a felony case, they must prove the value is $200 or more.
The main experts in theft cases are for valuing property. There can be a dispute about the value of the alleged stolen items. Determining the value is a critical issue in the case. For example, if the government attempts to prove that items were worth $250 and the defense can produce an expert who values the items below $200, that can be the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony.
The crime of theft can have major implications for an individual. The stigma of being known as a thief, and the possible penalties that come with a felony conviction, can alter someone’s life completely. In a situation of such significance, it only makes sense to retain the services of a lawyer who is familiar with potential Stafford County theft defense strategies and can use their knowledge to build your case.
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