A charge of larceny means that the defendant has been accused of the unlawful taking of another party’s property. Larceny, or theft, is a serious crime, and the punishments become more severe depending on how valuable the allegedly stolen item is.
Because larceny defendants face the threat of jail time and other severe penalties, it’s important to craft a larceny defense carefully by considering all of the facts and evidence at hand.
Here are two example defenses that might apply to certain larceny cases:
Belief of ownership: Imagine you walked into a bar, sat down and took a couple drinks of beer. When you got up to leave the establishment you grabbed your phone and headed out the door.
The next thing you know, a police officer is knocking on the window of your vehicle. You immediately worry that you’re about to get accused of drunk driving, but the officer demands to look at your phone. To your honest surprise, there are two phones in your pocket. You inadvertently stole someone’s phone at the bar because you thought it was yours. This kind of situation might benefit from the “belief of ownership” defense.
Entrapment: Imagine a police officer induces you to steal a car or commit a crime. Perhaps a police officer tells you to take something, and you feel that you are at risk if you say no. Although you wouldn’t have normally committed such an act, the police officer has induced you to commit a crime. The defense of “entrapment” could apply to this situation.
If you have been accused of larceny, it’s vital to explore all of your legal rights and options. A criminal defense lawyer can advise you on the best defense avenues available to you in this regard.
Source: FindLaw, “Larceny Defenses,” accessed Nov. 17, 2017