Criminal theft offenses encompass a lot of territory under American law, and are broadly grouped together under the category of property crimes.
Two notable points can be quickly made about criminal property offenses.
The first is this: The sentencing outcomes can range tremendously. Whereas an offense like shoplifting might yield a relatively minor penalty, crimes at the other spectrum of the theft universe – armed robbery, for instance – can produce flatly draconian outcomes. As we note on our St. Louis criminal defense website at Frank, Juengel & Radefeld, they “can carry life-changing penalties.”
And then there is this: Criminal theft charges brought by a prosecutor are hardly slam-dunk propositions in every case. That is, subjectivity sometimes attaches to formal charges. Overcharging an offense is not uncommon. The “facts” as alleged are in some cases less than airtight and open to strong challenges. Victims’ testimony regarding key points like perceptions of fear, force and threat might be shaky and off the mark. We stress (again on our website) the existence of “often unnoticed details that can provide a solid basis for the defense of [a] client.”
Experienced defense attorneys are trained to spotlight and exploit those details, knowing that doing so can dramatically affect a case outcome for an individual challenged by vast government powers.
Maybe you didn’t do it. If you did, perhaps your offense was actually a misdemeanor rather than a felony and should be subject to a mitigated penalty far more lenient than what criminal authorities are insisting upon. Maybe witnesses against you are lying or otherwise confusing facts with fiction.
The bottom line is that offered evidence in a case involving larceny, shoplifting, burglary, criminal trespass, robbery or any other property offense is sometimes weak and open to forceful defense challenges.
Proven defense attorneys can provide further information.