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Dealing with a criminal charge – such as theft – can be a scary experience. Instead of just having to pay damages, you could lose your freedom for months or years, which could have a catastrophic impact on your career and your family.  

You need the help of an experienced Baldwin County theft lawyer who has experience with theft cases and is ready to protect your rights and fight on your behalf. Contact a skilled criminal defense attorney who can build your case. 

Legal Elements of Theft

Theft, also known as larceny, is one of the most common criminal charges. It is usually defined as the unlawful taking of the personal property of another person or business.  

Of course, taking someone’s property by violence or the threat of violence – the general definition of robbery – is a serious crime. But the law also prohibits theft by deception, which is using any deceitful means with the intention of depriving the other person of their property. 

If a person contracted to perform services for another individual,  then says that their money was taken but no services were rendered that would be an ordinary breach of contract case, but a clever prosecutor might try to define it as theft via deceitful means. 

Importance of State of Mind

As in most criminal cases, 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. For this reason, one potentially successful defense strategy is to argue that the state has failed to show that the accused person acted with bad intent. 

As you might expect, 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 punishable 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 be the basis for a felony conviction. 

The Rights of an Individual

Facing such charges can be tough, but always keep in mind that the prosecutors must prove all the elements of their case beyond a reasonable doubt: 

  • What evidence do they have that the alleged theft was done on purpose, as opposed to an accident or misunderstanding? 
  • Is any of the testimony hearsay, which can be excluded from consideration? 
  • Were all searches conducted in compliance with the requirements of the U.S. and the Alabama Constitutions? 

Misidentifications – where the police arrested the wrong person – happen all the time, and they are particularly frequent in theft and robbery cases. A Baldwin County theft lawyer will know the most effective ways to cross-examine identification witnesses. 

In many cases, it may be possible to challenge an eyewitness identification through the use of a motion for a lineup, based on differences in the description given and the physical characteristics of the defendant arrested. 

Value of a Baldwin County Theft Attorney Can Do

A Baldwin County theft lawyer will review your situation with care and understanding. They know that anyone can make a mistake and that every criminal defendant is entitled to the most vigorous possible representation. 

They will bring all their intelligence, diligence, and experience to bear in order to vindicate your rights. But time is of the essence. If you are facing theft charges, contact an attorney right away.