People accused of theft might believe that their defense options are limited if the facts of their cases indicate that they took property without permission. However, criminal defendants in Georgia may have legal opportunities to defend themselves from charges depending on the circumstances. Contributing issues, such as intoxication, misunderstanding of ownership, intent to borrow or entrapment, have the potential to counteract prosecution for theft.
Intoxication might support the defense claim that the theft was a mistake. An intoxicated person could claim an inability to notice that an act amounted to stealing. Evidence that the person was intoxicated at the time of the theft would be needed to pursue this strategy. Although it might eliminate a theft charge, a person could remain vulnerable to charges related to public intoxication.
Theft charges also happen when people have a misunderstanding of ownership. People using this defense must provide evidence to support their beliefs that they had a legitimate right to the property. Similarly, the concept of borrowing with an intent to return property serves as a defense strategy in some cases. To make a claim of entrapment, a defendant needs evidence that indicates that a third party urged the person to steal something for the purpose of getting that person in trouble.
A conviction for any theft charges could have a lasting impact on someone’s employment opportunities. For this reason, a person may choose to obtain legal representation. A criminal defense attorney might evaluate the evidence and inform the person about options for avoiding or limiting prosecution. A legal opinion may clarify the odds of being convicted or exonerated. This advice might enable someone to make an informed decision about entering a plea. The assistance of an attorney may also improve someone’s ability to negotiate an acceptable plea deal.