How a Criminal Defence Lawyer Can Assist You With Matters Relating to Theft

There are many motivators for theft, such as greed and desperation. You have legal rights if you’ve been affected by or accused of theft. It’s best to contact a lawyer to exercise your rights to legal representation and guidance.

How is Theft Defined?

Theft is defined as deliberately taking something (that is not yours) from another person without the intention of returning it.

Theft includes the following:

  • Acquisition by deception.
  • Burglary (accessing another person’s land or property to steal, damage property. or assault a person).
  • Robbery/armed robbery.
  • Travelling to a place equipped to steal.
  • Handling stolen items.
  • Getting stolen items.
  • Joyriding (stealing a car so you can drive it around), even if you plan to give the car back; and
  • Shoplifting.

You may also be charged with theft if you find something and take possession without attempting to find the rightful owner.

Elements That the Prosecution Must Prove

If you have been charged with the offence of theft, the prosecution (typically the police) will prove the following:

  • You acted dishonestly when you took the item;
  • It did not belong to you;
  • You had no intention of returning it to the owner.

When your matter goes to court, you can either:

  1. Admit to committing theft and request diversion (the diversion program involves your case being handled differently. This is usually allowed for less severe cases. You have to accept certain conditions. A huge positive is that you do not get a criminal record);
  2. Acknowledge that you are guilty; or
  3. Deny guilt.

Concerning the above, remember that a criminal defence lawyer will be able to advise you fully on any matter relating to theft and what options are available to you.

Sanctions and Compensation Orders

The penalties for theft include imprisonment, fines or both. You might be required to commit to community service, either as an adjourned undertaking or community correction order etc.

These matters are generally heard in the Magistrates’ Court, except when the value of item/s exceeds $100,000 or when there are additional serious charges.

After judgement, if you are found guilty— restitution may be ordered. This can be in the form of returning stolen goods or compensation to the owner for the item that was sold, misplaced or damaged.

Final Thoughts

A lawyer can help you defend yourself if you have been charged with a crime and are not guilty. If you are guilty, a lawyer could argue for a more lenient sentence depending on your prior criminal history or after considering any mitigating factors.

Conversely, if you are a victim of a crime, you can contact a lawyer too to find out about restitution.

Make sure you are well-placed to deal with this matter by getting the necessary legal guidance. Contact us today for more information regarding the criminal offence of theft.

Source
https://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/theft-and-property-damage

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