Charged With Petty Larceny: 3 Possible Defenses To This Crime
Have you recently been accused of petty larceny? If so, you should know that despite the fact that this charge is a misdemeanor, being convicted of this crime can still come with some rather significant consequences. In fact, a conviction could even mean a jail sentence. Therefore, it is extremely important that you are prepared to defend yourself against these allegations. The good news is, there are three absolute defense strategies that you and your lawyer may be able to use in order to have the charges against you dropped. Below you will learn more about each of these strategies and how they may apply to the facts in your specific case.
Defense Strategy #1: You Had Permission To Possess The Property In Question
In order to convict you of petty larceny, the prosecutor in you case will need to prove that you took another person's possessions without their permission. If permission was granted, this is not theft and therefore, you cannot be convicted of this crime.
While uncommon, it is not unheard of for an individual to falsely claim that their property was stolen after having an argument with a family member, friend, or neighbor. Some individuals may also make false accusations in the event that they regret their actions to loan out the property for an extended period of time.
If the victim in your case provided you with permission to use their property, this information can be used to have the charges against you dropped. However, you will need to be prepared to present the court with compelling evidence that permission was in fact granted.
Defense Strategy #2: The Evidence Against You Was Illegally Obtained
Just as the law outlines rules that you must follow, it also outlines rules that law enforcement and prosecutors must follow. If any of these rules are broken, the evidence which is collected as a result of this misconduct can be ruled inadmissible in court. For instance, if your home was unlawfully searched, any stolen property that was found during this search cannot be used as evidence against you in a petty larceny case because it is considered fruit of the poisonous tree. This simply means that the evidence would not have been found if the police had acted within the law.
If you believe that any of your civil rights were violated during the course of your arrest or prosecution, this information can be used to have the evidence against you suppressed or your case dismissed.
Defense Strategy #3: You Were Never In Possession Of The Stolen Property
If the stolen property was never recovered in your case, the prosecution will be charged with the burden of proving that you not only had this property in your possession, but that you obtained this property through theft. The most common way in which this is done is through the use of video surveillance. However, depending upon the quality of this surveillance and the presence of other evidence against you, your lawyer may be able to argue that the evidence presented is not conclusive and that you were in fact never in the possession of the stolen property.
While this defense can be quite effective in some cases, it is important to note that convincing the jury of this fact can be quite difficult if there is substantial evidence against you. Contact a criminal law attorney like Robert A Murray for more information or assistance.