Defense Strategies in Annapolis Theft Cases
A prosecutor in an Annapolis theft case must prove that a person unlawfully took goods, services, or money from another person without their consent and their intent was to permanently deprive the other party of those items. It is important to work with a lawyer to determine a defense strategy to defend against these charges and disprove its elements. An Annapolis theft lawyer can negotiate with prosecutors and explain to them the weaknesses in their case, share their client’s lack of criminal history, and show positive aspects of the client’s life such as employment, or education. This information demonstrates to the prosecutors why they should consider dismissing the case, reducing the charges to something less serious, or not sending a client to jail in a very serious case, so as to not derail that person’s otherwise positive and productive life.
Contacting a Lawyer
A criminal lawyer assists the client in evaluating all of the evidence against them and making sure that the prosecution is not able to go forward on criminal charges when there is no evidence to support the criminal offense. Even in circumstances where the prosecutors have the ability to put the client on trial, the attorney can negotiate with them to not go forward in situations where the client does not have a criminal record and is otherwise a productive member of society, especially if this is their first offense.
A person charged with theft should contact a defense lawyer immediately after they are charged with the offense, or even before they are charged if they know that they are under investigation for the offense.
A criminal lawyer can be helpful by making sure the client understands what to say and what not to say to investigative bodies. They can ensure that the quality evidence needed for the benefit of the defendant, such as witnesses or surveillance tapes, are requested by the defense attorney before the tapes are wiped clean, or before those witnesses disappear or forget what took place.
Questioning the Charge
One of the most important strategies a lawyer may use in a theft case is to see whether their client is charged correctly. The charging documents in theft cases must have very specific amounts of information and detail to be proper charging documents that put a defendant on proper notice under the law of the allegations brought against them.
For example, saying that a person stole a shirt from a store is not sufficient. The brand of the shirt and the price of the shirt provide more information about that particular item to put a defendant on proper notice. The charging document is one of the most important things that a person’s lawyer should look at in a theft case.
Additionally, with theft-related cases, any surveillance tapes, particularly from stores, are important for an attorney to review to see if they show the information the prosecutor is trying to demonstrate in court. Whether a tape is admissible is also important because to have a surveillance tape of a theft admissible in court, the prosecutor needs the custodian of records from that store to demonstrate that the records are accurate, true, and correct. Only then are tapes admissible in court.
Those are some of the initial things to consider with every theft case to determine whether or not the charges can be proven. Depending on the kind of case, there are other strategies that are employed. For example, when somebody is charged with theft because they commit some kind of check fraud, bank records become very important. When someone is charged with theft because they were stealing from their employer, the records from the company, employment records, and their accounting history are important.
Evidence Used to Build Defense
Criminal lawyers want to obtain surveillance video, photographic evidence, or eyewitness testimonies to assist their client. The information the prosecution has is also important because even if the prosecutors have enough information for a criminal conviction, the admissibility of that information is important for the defense attorney to question.
If the prosecutors have material, but they are not able to admit it into the record in court because of its lack of reliability or its lack of authenticity, that could be an avenue to demonstrate to the court and prosecutor that the evidence is insufficient and to have the charges dismissed.
There are many different expert witnesses who can assist in these kinds of cases. The type of expert varies depending on the circumstances of a particular case. For example, if there is an expert with information about certain mental conditions that a client suffers from, that information might negate the client’s ability to formulate the intent to commit a theft crime.