Not everyone who is charged with a crime is legally guilty of having committed that crime. Even individuals who may not have acted responsibly in some way may be able to mount a successful defense to criminal charges.
For example, each theft-related criminal charge has specific legal elements which must be proven before an accused person may be found guilty. In order to successfully prosecute someone charged with a theft-related crime, a prosecutor must meet certain requirements. A successful defense may challenge any one of these requirements.
No one told me the property was stolen!
Nowadays, it is easier than ever to purchase just about anything one’s heart desires. Websites like Craigslist and Ebay can even help individuals track down once hard to find items. Unfortunately, not every would-be salesperson is operating a clean business. Sometimes stolen goods make their way into the hands of unsuspecting individuals.
If you have been charged with theft but didn’t know that the goods you purchased were stolen, an attorney may be able to help you avoid conviction. Generally, one must be aware that the goods one has either purchased or taken possession of were stolen in order to be successfully prosecuted for theft.
The property is/is not mine
Other successful defenses to theft charges may be found in the idea of ownership. If the property you are being charged with taking unlawfully was yours in the first place, you may be able to mount a successful defense.
For example, say that you recently broke up with your significant other and he or she took something valuable of yours. If you were able to retrieve that property lawfully, his or her cries of “Theft!” may not be warranted.
In addition, you may be able to avoid conviction if you were sincerely borrowing something. Generally, one must intend to take ownership of stolen property in order to be convicted of theft. Legitimately borrowing an item without permission may not be the smartest choice, but it also may not be an actual crime.