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Legal Strategies for Fighting Theft Charges in Illinois

 Posted on March 15, 2024 in Theft

Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyerFacing theft charges can be an incredibly overwhelming experience. The consequences of a conviction can have far-reaching impacts on your life, including potential fines, probation, or even jail time. However, it is crucial to understand that you have legal rights and options to defend yourself against these charges. An Illinois lawyer can help you explore potential legal strategies for fighting theft charges.

Challenging the Evidence

One of the most effective strategies in defending against theft charges is to challenge the evidence presented by the prosecution. In Illinois, the burden of proof lies with the state, and they must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Your attorney can scrutinize the evidence, looking for weaknesses, inconsistencies, or violations of your constitutional rights during the investigation or evidence collection process.

For instance, if the evidence was obtained through an illegal search or seizure, your attorney may file a motion to suppress it, making it inadmissible in court. Your lawyer can also cross-examine witnesses and challenge their credibility, potentially undermining the prosecution’s case.

Asserting Innocence or Lack of Intent

Another common defense strategy is to assert your innocence or lack of intent to commit theft. In Illinois, theft charges require proof that you knowingly obtained or exerted unauthorized control over another’s property with the intent to deprive the owner of that property permanently.

Your attorney may argue that you had a good faith belief that you had the right to possess the property in question or intended to return it. For example, if you borrowed a friend’s car without explicit permission but planned to return it later, your lawyer could argue that you did not intend to deprive the owner of their property permanently.

Claiming Entrapment or Coercion

Sometimes, your defense may hinge on claiming entrapment or coercion by law enforcement officials or other parties. The act of entrapment is when a law enforcement officer induces or encourages someone to commit a crime they would not have otherwise committed.

If your attorney can demonstrate that you were entrapped or coerced into committing the alleged theft, it could provide a valid defense against the charges. However, it is important to note that simply presenting an opportunity to commit a crime does not constitute entrapment under Illinois law.

Negotiating a Plea Bargain

While fighting the charges at trial is an option, your attorney may also explore the possibility of negotiating a plea bargain with the prosecution. A plea bargain involves pleading guilty to a lesser charge or receiving a reduced sentence in exchange for your cooperation or admission of guilt.

This strategy may be advantageous if the evidence against you is particularly strong or if the potential consequences of a conviction at trial are severe. Your attorney will carefully weigh the pros and cons of a plea bargain and advise you on the best course of action based on the specifics of your case.

Contact a Rolling Meadows, IL Criminal Defense Lawyer

Regardless of the legal strategy you and your attorney choose to pursue, it is essential to have an Oakbrook Terrace, IL criminal defense attorney by your side. Theft charges can be complex, and the laws surrounding them can vary depending on the value of the stolen property and other factors. Mr. Hartsfield has a varied background, with experience in legal representation for the Will County Public Defenders Office and as an educator at the City Colleges of Chicago. Call [[title] at 312-345-1700 for a free consultation.

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