For those who are facing charges for theft, there may be questions regarding viable defenses to the charge. Fortunately, there are numerous legal defenses that an attorney may utilize while defending someone against theft charges. For example, an honest misunderstanding on the part of the defendant may render the charge invalid.
In cases where the judge convicts someone of a theft charge, a proper defense may help alleviate the severity of the sentence.
A lack of intent
According to Chapter 7, Title 31 of the Texas Penal Code, theft occurs when someone takes something that belongs to another person with the “intention” of depriving the owner of his or her property. Borrowing something and forgetting to return it, for example, may demonstrate a lack of intent which could result in the dismissal of the charge.
Stealing under duress
Sometimes, people find themselves in a situation where either they or their loved ones are in danger unless they do something that they would not normally do. For example, if someone has a gun against their head and must steal from their employer to avoid a gunshot wound, the theft will occur “under duress.”
According to FindLaw’s Texas theft laws section, being under duress at the time of the crime is a valid defense to a theft charge.
In some cases, people may be able to avoid theft charges if they can prove that they were too intoxicated at the time to know that they were stealing something. This defense comes with its own risks, however, as public intoxication or driving while intoxicated is still a crime.
It is important to understand how each theft defense can help improve someone’s situation if he or she is facing theft charges.