Omaha theft defense attorney, explains your legal options in defending against a charge of theft
If you have been charged with a Nebraska theft crime, you may be confused about the precise nature of the crime you are charged with and worried about the penalties you are facing. Do not despair. An experienced Omaha criminal lawyer can assess your situation and develop an effective defensive strategy.
What is a theft crime?
“Theft” is a general term that encompasses a number of different crimes. Broadly speaking, “theft” involves the taking of something of value, without the consent of the owner, with the intent of permanently depriving the owner of the value of that property. Examples of theft include:
- auto theft (including failure to return a rented or leased vehicle)
- theft by deception (e.g., using a stolen credit card)
- theft of services (including telephone service, electric service, cable television service, and hotel/restaurant services)
What are the penalties for theft?
The penalties for theft vary, but generally include jail time and a fine. Restitution (repayment of the value of what was taken) also may be required. The greater the value of the property taken, the more severe will be the penalties imposed. If the value of the item taken is $500 or more, the theft is classified as “grand theft,” a felony crime. Theft of property valued at less than $500 is “petty theft,” a misdemeanor. However, if multiple small value items are taken, the value of the items may be aggregated, making the crime a felony.
How can an Omaha criminal lawyer help me?
An Omaha criminal defense lawyer, experienced at handling theft crimes, can assess the evidence against you and develop a legal strategy aimed at proving your innocence or having the charges against you reduced or dismissed. One common defense strategy in theft cases is to move to suppress the evidence obtained against you on the grounds that it was obtained illegally. For example, if stolen property was found in your possession, but the police search that uncovered the property was unconstitutional, then the evidence may be suppressed, which means it cannot be used against you. Without this evidence, the government may have no case. Other defenses to theft crimes that an experienced Omaha criminal defense lawyer will investigate include:
Consent. If you had permission to take the property in question, then there was no theft.
Lack of intent. If you did not intend to take the property (e.g., if you accidentally took an item out of the store), or if you did not intend to keep the property (e.g., if you borrowed an item with the intention of returning it), then no theft occurred.
Property-related defenses. If you did not take the property (e.g., if the stolen property was not found in your possession, or if the property found in your possession is not the property taken from the victim), then there was no theft.
Contact Omaha criminal lawyer
A theft conviction, even for a relatively minor or “petty” offense, can have long-term consequences beyond the penalties imposed by law. Theft is a crime of deceit. A conviction based on dishonesty can affect your reputation in the community, your future job opportunities, and your ability to obtain or maintain security clearances or professional licenses.
If you have been charged with theft, and you would like to talk with a knowledgeable Omaha criminal defense lawyer, please use the Free Case Evaluation form on this page to contact us.