Facing a theft charge can affect your life significantly. In Texas, anyone who unlawfully takes property with intent to deprive the owner commits a theft offense.
Below are three defenses you might be able to use if you are charged with a theft crime:
1. Claim of right
If you own an allegedly stolen item, you may use this as your defense. However, this doesn’t mean just saying it’s yours – evidence that proves so is needed.
In some instances, you may not own the property in question but may have thought so. For example, if you take an item that looks exactly like yours. In such a case, you will need to provide your item to prove the resemblance that may have led to the mistake.
2. Lack of intent
If you didn’t intend to deprive the owner permanently, a lack of intent could be your defense strategy. For example, if you have a crying baby and leave a store without paying, or you borrow an item from your friend and then lose it. You will need to show that your actions were unintentional.
3. Lack of control
Being intoxicated impairs judgment, which means it may have been impossible to notice an item was not yours when you took it. However, a judge is unlikely to have much sympathy if you got drunk and went on a shoplifting spree.
Defense strategies can lower your penalties or get your case dismissed. It will help to understand your case and goals to choose the best defenses.