Potential Defenses to Theft Charges in Indiana

Any theft charges should be taken seriously. Irrespective of the item or its value, the offense is classified as a felony and is punished by fines and jail time. You will also have a criminal record, which will show up on background checks. You must consult with a skilled Evansville criminal defense lawyer and use any legal means to fight these charges.

An experienced attorney will generally rely on one of the following strategies:

Challenging Intent

The Indiana Code defines theft as “knowingly or intentionally” taking control over someone’s property with the intent to permanently deprive them of the respective property.

One of the first defenses against the charge is that you did not commit the deed with intent or knowledge. Here are some instances:

  • You do not realize that the self-checkout machine failed to scan one of the items you intended to purchase
  • You misunderstood that you could take an item free of charge
  • You believed you had the owner’s permission to take the item
  • You are in possession of an item without knowing that it was stolen

An experienced attorney will be able to collect evidence and witness testimony to support your version and disprove the charges.

Analyzing the Circumstances of the Alleged Offense

In some cases, the circumstances in which you allegedly committed the theft offense are unclear. For example, you put an item by mistake into your bag instead of the shopping cart and a theft prevention officer approached you before you had the time to correct the mistake.

Among others, the lawyer will prove that you possessed the necessary amount of money to pay for the respective items. Also, testimonies from family members and co-workers indicating that you are extremely busy at work may be used to justify your moment of absent-mindedness.

Challenging the Evidence

There are strict rules related to the lawful manner of collecting and preserving evidence. However, law enforcement officers may overlook one of these rules. If your attorney can identify any such mistake, they will petition the court to exclude the respective piece of evidence.

a lawyer can help you prove innocence in a theft case

Or the entire case may rest on the testimony of a witness who cannot be located. Maybe the law enforcement officer failed to identify them properly or they moved to another state in the meantime without leaving a forwarding address. If the witness cannot appear before court to give their testimony to the jury and be cross-examined, then their initial testimony may not be valid.

Mistaken Identity

An experienced Evansville criminal defense attorney knows that many theft charges never end in court because the wrong person was named as the perpetrator. This type of confusion comes from unclear CCTV camera footage or human error in identifying the person they saw committing a deed.

Mistaken identity is often successfully invoked in self-checkout theft charges, where the evidence presented by the retail store is solely video recording from cameras placed in awkward angles.

Disputing Ownership

In some situations, there may be a misunderstanding related to the ownership of the allegedly stolen item. For instance, you purchased a bicycle from your neighbor, but it actually belonged to the neighbor’s spouse, who was not aware of the sale.

In this instance, if the neighbor’s spouse accuses you of theft, your attorney can prove that you did not commit any crime in taking possession of the bicycle.

Consult with an Experienced Evansville Criminal Defense Lawyer!

If you are charged with theft, you must act quickly and start building your defense. A skilled Evansville criminal defense lawyer will leave no stone unturned in the effort of proving your evidence.

With Verdelski Miller by your side, you can be certain that you have the most reliable legal defender – an attorney with over 30 years of experience and 85 court trials.

Call us today to schedule a free case evaluation at 812-247-6453!

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