Building a Defense For Larceny Charges in Virginia
Charged with larceny in Virginia? Here’s what you should know about what goes in to building a defense. To learn more or get legal assistance call and schedule a consultation with a Virginia theft lawyer today.
What Are Common Defense Strategies to Larceny Cases?
A good defense attorney will attack the elements of a larceny offense and challenge whether the prosecution can prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, that is, that the defendant:
- (1) Wrongfully or fraudulently
- (2) Took another’s property
- (3) Without their permission and
- (4) With the intent to deprive the owner of that property permanently.
In a shoplifting case, which is one kind of larceny, if you can undermine the credibility of the store employee then you often undermine the credibility of the prosecution’s case. Likewise, if you can also attack other witnesses, or highlight the lack of certain evidence, then you could create reasonable doubt as to whether the prosecution has enough evidence to prove their case.
In addition, there is often a great deal of room to argue what a person’s intent was, since intent always has to be inferred (which really just means guessed at) by looking at All the facts and circumstances. By doing so you could potentially get a not guilty verdict.
Why Is It Important to Hire An Attorney in a Larceny Case?
Whenever someone is charged with a misdemeanor or a felony larceny, they should have an attorney present to give them legal advice and help them understand what their options are regarding plea bargains that are not in their best interest. In most cases, the prosecutor offers a way of resolving the case without a trial, and the defendant always has the opportunity to plead not guilty and go for a trial. If they have an attorney, the attorney can speak to the prosecutor, the officer, and the witnesses in order to get an idea of what the evidence is and what the chances are of succeeding a trial. Understanding whether or not the defendant should enter into a plea agreement or go to trial is important and having that legal advice will help the person make the right decision.
What Constitutional Issues Can Arise in Larceny Cases?
First, a person always has the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, which the police have to advise a person of in order to be able to use the accused’s statements after being placed in custody. There is always the issue of whether someone confessed to the crime and whether the statements they made were admissible, meaning whether they can be used against them in their potential trial.
If the individual is stopped and asked a few questions but not arrested or deprived of their freedom to a degree similar to arrest, they don’t need to be read their Miranda rights, but if they are arrested and then questioned, then they do need to be advised of their rights. If they ask for an attorney, they are basically invoking the right to remain silent until they speak to an attorney and any evidence the police gather from them after that point could potentially be thrown out of court.
These are important challenges to larceny cases because if you challenge the evidence and the case gets thrown out, then the prosecutor may not be left with enough evidence to prove their case in court. Having an experienced Virginia criminal defense attorney can help you when facing these challenges.