Theft charges are common across the Clermont area. Although these charges might seem relatively minor, they can actually carry pretty severe consequences. In addition to damaging your reputation, they can hit you with significant penalties such as jail time, hefty fines, and a criminal record that can affect nearly every aspect of your life. It might cause you to lose your job, prevent you from securing decent employment in the future, and even prohibit you from obtaining certain housing.
With all of that in mind, you need to know your criminal defense options so that you can aggressively pursue the course of action that is best for you. Here are some of the paths that you can take in addressing the theft charges that have been levied against you.
Taking a plea deal
In the vast majority of criminal cases, including those involving theft, prosecutors offer defendants a plea deal in hopes of obtaining a conviction without putting in the time and effort necessary to see a case through trial. A plea deal might certainly be an option, then, but you need to fully assess your case before agreeing to a plea bargain. That means taking a look at each of the following:
- The strength of the prosecution’s evidence: You’ll want to engage in effective discovery so that you know exactly what evidence the prosecution is going to use against you. Once you have that information, you can gain a better sense of your ability to raise doubt as to your guilt at trial.
- The strength of your defense: Depending on the facts of your case, you might have several strategies available to you. Consider the strength of your arguments in light of the prosecution’s evidence.
- The difference in penalties: If your plea deal offers penalties that aren’t far off from what the prosecution will seek at trial, then you don’t have much to lose. But if the difference in penalties is pretty drastic, then a plea deal might be more enticing.
Going to trial
If a plea deal doesn’t interest you, and in some cases it shouldn’t, then you need to know what arguments you can present at trial to try to obtain an acquittal. Once you identify a defense strategy, then you should work diligently to build it so that it aggressively attacks as many facets of the prosecution’s case as possible. Each of the following arguments might serve you well at trial:
- Lack of intent: To obtain a theft conviction, the prosecution is going to have to show that you intended to deprive another person of their property and to convert it for your own personal use. These means that prosecutors will have to show what you intended when you took property into your possession. This can be a difficult thing to do.
- Outright denial: In some instances, defendants are able to successfully argue that they simply didn’t commit the act as alleged, meaning that they didn’t even take the property in question. You’ll need strong evidence to back up this claim, or you may be able to use suppression tactics to try to get evidence against you thrown out.
- Argue value: The penalties for theft can vary drastically depending on the value of the goods stolen. So, in some cases, defendants admit to taking property, but they argue that it is much less valuable than claimed by the prosecution. They do this in hopes of receiving lighter penalties that have a minimal impact on their lives.
Aggressive, custom-tailored criminal defense
Defending against aggressive prosecutors is no small feat. In fact, in many cases these prosecutors use their power and accused individuals’ fear to coax them into a plea deal that isn’t right for the accused individual. Don’t let that happen to you. Instead, thoroughly analyze your criminal defense options so that you can take the approach that is best for you and your future. If you think that you could benefit from assistance here, then consider discussing the circumstances of your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.