If you are arrested on theft charges, the potential penalties you may face are based on the value of the property that was allegedly taken. In cases involving items of high value, a theft charge is considered a felony. Regardless of how the offense is charged, your life could change dramatically if convicted.
Therefore, if you have been accused of stealing, you should discuss your case with a McDonough theft lawyer right away. One of our skilled criminal defense attorneys could protect your freedom and livelihood by evaluating your case and developing a defense strategy that suits your circumstances.
Theft charges may include various forms of criminal activity. Under state law, theft may include lesser offenses like shoplifting, which is typically a misdemeanor, as well as other more serious crimes such as burglary and robbery. Each of these crimes requires the prosecution to establish different arguments. However, they all have the potential for serious consequences.
Any person facing a theft-related charge should speak with a McDonough lawyer as soon as possible. Once a prosecutor receives a theft case, they will begin to aggressively build their case against you. The longer a defendant waits to engage with legal counsel, the greater advantage that the state has.
The prosecution has the burden to prove guilt in a theft case. In fact, the burden a prosecutor carries in a criminal case is higher than in civil lawsuits. Unlike a personal injury claim, the government must establish that a person accused of theft is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the highest standard of proof available.
Establishing guilt beyond a reasonable doubt can be difficult. The state prosecutor has the duty to prove every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. The question is not whether the jury believes the accused likely committed offense. Instead, the question is whether the prosecutor has removed all doubt as to the guilt of the accused. If the state has not removed all doubt, then the jury must find the accused not guilty.
Weighing the best defense based on this burden of proof is one of the main responsibilities of a theft attorney in McDonough. Each case requires a different approach. While some defendants are best served by not testifying, others could benefit from taking the stand.
The consequences of a conviction for theft largely depends on whether the case is a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor offenses bring a maximum jail sentence of one year, while felony offenses can lead to much longer prison terms. There are also steep fines associated with theft convictions.
In addition to jail time and fines, a conviction could also result in restitution. For felony convictions, it could also bring the loss of certain rights like the ability to own firearms or vote. An attorney in McDonough could help someone facing theft charges minimize the potential penalties they may receive.
Never plead guilty to a theft offense without first speaking to an attorney. While the police and prosecution might imply your case is hopeless, many of these cases are defensible. A McDonough theft lawyer could review your arrest and advise you on your chances of acquittal. To start fighting back, schedule your case evaluation today.