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What Is Theft Defense? How To Deal with It?

Handley LLC Aug. 24, 2020

In theft cases there are several legal defenses, although the facts shore up the claim that the defendant acquired the property without permission from another party. For example, alleged theft might or might have been a result of an honest misunderstanding of ownership. It really depends, as with every criminal case, on the specific facts.

If the accused took property, then here are some of the most typical robbery defenses that may apply to your case. Please note that in several jurisdictions theft is referred to as "larceny."

Claiming the Right or the Ownership of the Property

A person who is accused of stealing property can stand up for a valid defense if he or she can demonstrate that he or she believes that the property is theirs in good faith. Although it's a rather straightforward defense, it's not as simple as claiming "I thought it was mine".

You might think that you have very few options when someone accused you of theft. It isn't necessarily as open and closed as someone who accuses you of taking something and of having what you have taken. It is important that you do not admit or attempt to give your alibi when someone accuses you of theft. You should instead talk to a criminal defense attorney to start your consultation straight away and take stock of potential defenses for the case. There are always two sides of a story, and although you seem to have concrete evidence, you know that anything you say can be used against you when you speak with a police officer.

What Is Theft?

What someone accuses you of theft; it is important to know what it is. Legally, theft occurs when one person takes property without permission from another in order to permanently remove and never return this property. Therefore the two elements they need to be called on when someone accuses you of theft are:

  • You have taken their assets.

  • You wanted to take them away from that property permanently.

The purpose behind the theft is also extremely important to note. Therefore, when you were in a store and picked some shoes, hid them and wanted to walk outside of the store, but before you left you were caught by a security officer; your intention to leave the store with them is still seen as theft.


If a defendant can determine that they were intoxicated when the alleged theft occurred, the defense may be successful. Where an individual could not make a necessary attempt to steal (e.g. they might have mistakenly thought an item is their belonging), they might have a viable defense against toxicity, regardless of the type of poisoning-alcohol, chemical or drugs.

However, if a defendant can establish that he intends to give the property back at the time of taking and that he can actually do so, a different and viable defense may exist. It is quite common to protect against theft by claiming that the property was just "borrowed." Likewise, if you just forget to return a loan you can defend against the theft charges.

If nothing such happened to you and your belongings are taken by someone else, you should contact a criminal defense attorney in OKC. Reach at Handley Law Center for legal aid.

** Disclaimer: This blog article is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.