Fighting A Theft Charge: What You Need To Know
Felony theft can be a serious crime, as can any kind of felony charge that you are facing. It is important to take felony charges very seriously, as these offenses can vary very stiff penalties, including hefty fines, lengthy imprisonment, etc. If you are facing a felony theft charge, here are a few things you need to be aware of.
Determine the Supposed Amount of Loss
One of the most important elements in a theft case is the loss that is alleged by the victim. The victim can be a person, business, etc. Regardless of who the victim is, the amount of loss is a significant factor in determining how serious the case is. This amount will vary from one state to the next. However, for instance, a loss amount lower than $500 may be a misdemeanor petty theft charge, while a loss amount over $400 could result in felony theft charges. For much larger losses, additional charges may apply and could result in state prison time if a conviction is made.
Decide If You Can Reach a Settlement
In some theft cases, a settlement can be made. Each case is different, so each case needs to be individually evaluated to determine if a settlement should or could be made. Generally, a settlement is only made in very small misdemeanor theft cases when a compromise can be made for a small loss, such as $100 being stolen from a small "mom and pop" business. When this type of settlement is made, the loss is returned to the victim and no criminal prosecution is made by the victim. Generally, when a felony theft charge is on the table, settlements for a potential dismissal of charges are not an option. However, this does not mean that working with your lawyer to see if it is a possibility is not worth it.
Disclose the Factors Impacting Your Mental State
To be convicted of a felony theft charge, the prosecuting attorney must be able to successfully prove that you had an intent to steal and defraud the victim beyond reasonable doubt. In other words, the theft cannot be unintentional or accidental in any way. Some potential defenses for a felony theft charge can be alcohol or drug impairments, traumatic circumstances, medications that you were on at the time, mental health issues, etc. Having a felony lawyer can help you explore potential issues as they related to your case and determine how to fight the charge, negotiate for a lesser charge, or gain a complete dismissal.
If you have been charged with felony theft, reach out to a felony lawyer in your area for a consultation.