Building a Virginia Theft Defense

There are various strategies for building a Virginia theft defense. Some experienced theft attorneys begin their case by gathering as much evidence as they can to try providing some form of mitigation on behalf of the accused. One tries to show the prosecutor that even though a person may have technically committed theft, they are still a good person and they have done a lot to try to counteract the damage they have done with the theft offense.

Generally, for a theft or larceny offense, the prosecution will be required to prove that the defendant or the individual intentionally took and carried away the property of another person and they did not have the consent of that person.

What Are the Initial Steps To Preparing a Theft Defense?

The initial steps a theft attorney will take when preparing a new case depends on the material. After speaking with the defendant and getting an idea of what happened in the case, attorneys reach out to the business or the individuals involved to try to get some evidence in the case.

In Virginia, attorneys are not necessarily entitled to discovery in a case until much closer to trial, at trial, or potentially some period before the preliminary hearing. It depends on the jurisdiction when one gets that information.

Once they reach out to these alternative means of getting the information, they ask them for their observations and any notes that they can share like video surveillance. Then they start preparing their defense based on the information they find out until the time when they can get discovery or the evidence the prosecution will use against the client to get the best outcome.

Commonly Obtained Evidence on Behalf of the Accused

The outcomes of theft criminal cases often get decided by juries. The role of an attorney is to talk to police officers and gather any evidence such as video footage in order to begin building a Virginia theft defense on behalf of the charged individual.

A criminal lawyer may want to obtain all of the evidence that they possibly can in the case. They want everything they can get ahead of time. Sometimes, this includes things like video surveillance or eyewitness testimony.

Sometimes that includes other things that would be potentially helpful to the case, like receipts or evidence of intent to pay. If there is some type of flaw in the case, for example, an individual was not stopped correctly or searched correctly a defense attorney wants to find out ahead of time so they have time to prepare the defenses and the motions in the case.

How Often Are Expert Witnesses Used in Theft Cases?

Attorneys rarely use experts when building a Virginia theft defense. When they do use experts, it is people like mental health professionals or experts who can talk about the unreliability of eyewitness testimony. It is very rare that an expert would be needed in a simple theft case.

Possibility of Probation or Reduced Sentencing Options

When building a Virginia theft defense, an attorney may suggest alternative sentencing ideas as an alternative to the penalties you are facing. For simple theft, Virginia has a first offender’s program or (OAL). It is for somebody who never has been accused of theft before and who otherwise has a good record. It is recommended by the Commonwealth to go through this program.

They have the opportunity to be on active probation with a probation officer or do community service and a stop shoplifting program in exchange for the dismissal of charges. The only way to get into this program is with an admission of guilt, so an admission that facts are sufficient to find them guilty. That is usually not an option for most felonies or someone with a criminal record or who has other theft offenses in the past.

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