Not all thefts are created equally in the eyes of the law. There are several factors that can determine what type of theft charges a person will face. These factors include the value of the items taken, the reason the items were taken, the location of the items that were taken and the manner in which the items were taken. When prosecutors opt to charge a person with a theft-related crime, all of these points are taken into consideration. Each of these points is an opportunity for the defense to raise questions.
The value of the items taken matters. The lower the value of an item that is taken, the lesser the charge. This means that you likely wouldn’t face as serious of a charge if you stole a tube of lipstick as what you would face if you stole a Ferrari.
The reason the item was taken can affect your case. Theft charges have a criterion that the person who took the item had the intent to deprive the rightful owner of the use or possession of the item. This means that if you borrow an item and honestly forget to return it, you likely couldn’t be charged with theft because you didn’t have the intent to deprive the owner.
The location of the items that were taken matters. Stealing from an abandoned building might not result in charges that are as severe as if you robbed a person.
The manner in which the items were taken can have a big impact on your case. If the items were taken through the use of a weapon, the charges are likely more severe than if you took something from a residence when nobody was home.
As you can tell, there are many variables that matter in theft cases. Understanding what elements are being cited in the case against you can help you ensure your defense answers the necessary points.
Source: FindLaw, “Theft Overview,” accessed Dec. 23, 2016