If you have recently been charged with any form of larceny, you should know that being convicted of this crime can result in serious fines and even jail time. Therefore, it is important that you work closely with a reputable criminal defense attorney (like those at Hammer Law Office) to plan a defense strategy in your case. Below are just a few of the strategies that you may choose to use when defending yourself against these criminal accusations.
The Owner Provided Consent
One of the primary elements to a larceny charge is that you must have taken another person's property without their consent. Consequently, if the rightful owner of this property did in fact provide you with consent, proving this fact will prevent you from being convicted of larceny. For instance, if your neighbor gives or loans you their spare lawnmower and then decides that they don't want you to have it after the two of you have a disagreement, they cannot have you charged with larceny for a failure to return the lawnmower promptly because they gave consent for this property to be in your possession.
You Believed The Item Was Yours
Another key element of a larceny charge is that you took the property in question with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of this property. This is not the case if you had reason to believe that you were in fact the rightful owner of this property. For example, imagine that your child leaves their bike outside overnight and it subsequently comes up missing. While driving to work the next day, you spot a bike at the end of the road that is identical to your child's. You pick up the bike and put it in your trunk. In this situation, you cannot be convicted of larceny because you did not intend to steal anything. Instead, you reasonably believed that you were simply retrieving your own property.
When using this particular defense strategy, keep in mind that it will be up to you to prove that it was reasonable for you to believe the property belonged to you. This can be a difficult burden to meet if you do not have any physical evidence demonstrating that you do own an identical item.
You Did Not Intend To Keep The Item
In a larceny case, not only does the prosecutor need to prove that you intended to deprive the rightful owner of their property, but they will also need to prove that you intended to deprive them of this property indefinitely. It is this factor that differentiates between borrowing something without permission and true theft. While it can be difficult to prove that you intended to return the property in question, proving this fact can help you to avoid a conviction.