Theft is a term that we are all familiar with. We associate the word theft with taking away something belonging to another without the consent of the owner. This is the basic concept of theft. However, in legal terms, different kinds of thefts are specified and the severity of the crime and punishment varies.
Petty theft is also known as misdemeanor theft. A theft is considered a petty theft if the stolen items/property is of a low value. Each state sets its own threshold value for determining petty theft. If the worth is lower than the threshold value, it is considered petty theft and anything higher than the threshold is grand theft.
State laws for petty theft vary from state to state. Hence, it is recommended that you hire a petty theft lawyer who is conversant with the laws of the state for petty theft.
When merchandise from a store is stolen, it is known as shoplifting. In many states, shoplifting and petty theft have different laws pertaining to them while in many states legal action for shoplifting is the same as petty theft. Petty theft is a criminal offense and the defendant is prosecuted by the state.
If an individual is accused of petty theft, certain factors need to be established to prove the defendant guilty.
First of all, the prosecuting attorney needs to prove the ownership of the property by the victim. Wrongfully taking away property may involve movement or concealment of property. Also, transfer of funds without the owner’s permission or utilizing another’s property as one’s own is considered theft. The prosecution needs to establish that the property was taken without the consent of the owner. The prosecutor has to prove that the intent behind the crime is to deprive the victim of the property. In case the deprivation has not occurred the prosecutor needs to prove the intent behind the crime.
The public prosecutor is required to prove all the above factors with proof, beyond a reasonable doubt for the accused to get the verdict of guilty.
Petty theft charges if proved can have heavy penalties. A petty theft lawyer is a criminal lawyer who specializes in petty theft laws and defense.
Your petty theft will offer defense on the following basis:
- He might question if the defendant actually took the property belonging to the victim.
- Another point to be clarified might be that the offender might have believed that the property was his or that he was entitled to take possession of the property.
- Another defense strategy might be the petty theft lawyer proving that the defendant intended to return the said property to the victim.
- Alibi is another common defense strategy used by petty theft lawyers wherein they prove that the defendant was not present at the scene of the crime when the crime took place.
- Petty theft lawyers may use the defense of entrapment to prove the innocence of the defendant. Entrapment is when the defendant appeals not guilty on the grounds that there was no intent to commit the crime. The theft was committed because the defendant was coerced to commit it by a law enforcement agency.
Find the best petty theft lawyers at Ward K Johnson Law Firm to defend you in case you are accused of petty theft!