Theft crimes can involve shoplifting inexpensive items or stealing products worth thousands of dollars. Regardless of the value of the items stolen, it is critical that you have strong legal representation at your side.
If you are facing theft charges or even under investigation, you should not try to handle this serious matter on your own. A Marquette theft lawyer could give you a better chance at fighting your charges and getting your life back on track.
Law enforcement treats theft crimes differently depending on the value of the stolen goods and whether the defendant has any previous theft convictions.
Those who steal items valued at under $200 generally face petty theft charges. A defendant could face a maximum of 93 days in jail and a fine that is the greater of three times the stolen item’s value or $500.
If the value of the stolen items is between $200 and $1000, defendants face second-degree misdemeanor theft charges. Upon conviction, an individual could face up to a one-year jail term and a fine that is the greater of three times the value of the stolen goods or $2000.
If the value of the stolen goods is between $1000 and $20,000, defendants could face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to three times the value of the stolen property or $10,000. If the value of the stolen property is more than $20,000, the offense is a second-degree felony.
Defendants could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to three times the value of the stolen items or $15,000. Anyone with a history of prior theft convictions could face higher penalties, which is why it is critical to work with a theft attorney who could aggressively fight the charges.
A defendant could raise many different defenses against their theft charges. Common defense strategies include highlighting constitutional violations, claiming mistaken identity, and emphasizing the defendant’s lack of intent.
A seasoned attorney could review the circumstances surrounding the theft arrest and the seizure of incriminating evidence. They could check to see if the local law enforcement officers adhered to the correct procedural requirements, such as obtaining a search warrant before entering the defendant’s home. If there were violations of the defendant’s constitutional rights, an attorney might be able to get the charges dismissed.
A defendant could argue that a witness mistakenly identified them as the thief. A dedicated attorney could review the witness’ statement to see if they could cast doubt on the identification. A lawyer could also investigate whether the witness had a motive for lying.
Theft crimes require proof of specific intent. To convict someone of theft, a prosecutor would need to prove that the defendant took someone else’s property and intended to permanently deprive that person of that property. An attorney could help a defendant prove that there was no theft and that the defendant merely intended to borrow the item. They could introduce evidence that the property owner lent or gave the item to the defendant.
Every legal case is different, and most useful defense strategies vary depending upon the individual facts of the particular case. An experienced Marquette attorney could review the evidence and help a defendant decide on the best defense strategy.
A conviction on theft charges could have severe criminal penalties and social consequences. For this reason, you should reach out to an experienced Marquette theft lawyer who could work aggressively on your behalf to protect your constitutional rights. Contact the firm today to set up an initial consultation.