If authorities accuse you of theft, it is in your interests to know as much as possible about what you are up against. A criminal conviction can have a significant impact long-term, and it’s prudent not to underestimate the potential effects this can have on your life. You want to do everything possible to protect your rights as well as shield your future interests.
In addition to keeping you out of jail, a strong defense strategy can help you preserve your reputation and avoid other potential consequences that may come with a conviction. Theft charges can be either misdemeanor or felony charges, and it encompasses a range of offenses, including taking physical property, taking a person’s identity or taking money. Understanding the case against you will help you develop a strong defense strategy that makes sense for your situation.
What is theft?
A very basic definition of theft is taking someone’s property without permission. Theft can come in many forms, and while it often involves physical property, it can also include taking intangible things, including sensitive information or assets from an online account. In order to have a case for theft, the prosecution must be able to prove that:
- You took property from someone else.
- You took with the property with the intent of keeping it and permanently depriving the other person of it.
One of the most difficult aspects of proving a theft case is presenting conclusive evidence of a person’s intent. In Virginia, there is another charge related to theft called larceny. These two offenses are similar, but larceny typically involves taking property and carrying it away.
The nature of a theft or larceny case often depends on the value of the property taken. Petty theft involves taking property worth less than a certain value, typically under $1,000. Grand theft involves more valuable property, such as a vehicle. This is a felony offense.
Your defense should start now
If you are facing allegations of theft or larceny, you would be wise not to delay in seeking defense counsel as soon as possible. With the right support, you can secure guidance that will allow you to confront these charges in an effective manner.
A practical place to start is simply seeking an evaluation of your case with an attorney and learning more about the defense options available to you. This can be a helpful course of action whether you are already charged or you are still under investigation.