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Common Defenses to Theft Crimes


Theft is a common criminal offense when one person takes property or services belonging to someone else without permission. It's a crime that can result in severe consequences, including fines, imprisonment, and a criminal record. However, in some cases, people accused of theft can defend themselves against the charges.

1. Mistake of Fact

One possible defense against theft charges is a mistake of fact. This occurs when a defendant takes an item believing they have the right to do so. For example, a person may mistakenly believe that an item was theirs or might have thought that someone else had permitted them to take it. If the defendant can prove that they made a genuine mistake of fact, they may be able to avoid a conviction.

2. Lack of Intent

Another possible defense to theft charges is a lack of intent. This can occur when a person did not intend to steal the item or did not realize they were taking something that did not belong to them. For example, if a person mistakenly takes an item that another customer left behind in a store, they may be able to argue that they did not intend to steal it.

3. Consent

Consent can also be used as a defense against theft charges. This defense occurs when the owner of the property or services gives the defendant permission to take them. For example, if a person agrees to lend their car to someone, that person cannot be charged with theft if they take the car.

4. Duress

Sometimes, a person may be forced to commit theft under duress. This occurs when someone is threatened with harm if they do not commit the crime. If the defendant can prove that they were under pressure when they committed the theft, they may be able to use this as a defense.

5. Entrapment

Entrapment occurs when a government entity or law enforcement officer induces a person to commit a crime that they would not otherwise have achieved. For example, if an undercover police officer encourages someone to steal something, the defendant may be able to use entrapment as a defense.

San Antonio Theft Defense Attorney

If you need legal advice or representation in a theft case, don't hesitate to reach out to The The Law Office of Derek S. Ritchie, PLLC. Our team of experienced lawyers is ready to provide the legal support you need. Remember, understanding your rights and having a strong legal team on your side can make a significant difference in your case. Contact us today at (210) 702-2203 to get started. 

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