Elements of a New York Theft Case

When being investigated for a New York theft charge, a person should contact an attorney and provide some degree of the details of the allegation as soon as possible. An individual should explain the context of the theft, and describe as many specific elements of the case as they can.

Doing so will allow the attorney to prepare the most effective defense strategy. A New York theft lawyer will use such a defense to help lessen or dismiss any penalties associated with the charge.

Determining the Elements of the Charge

When first beginning to understand the elements of the New York theft charge, an attorney will want to know: 

  • Is it an allegation of shoplifting?
  • Is it an allegation of embezzlement?
  • Is it an allegation of credit card fraud?
  • Is the theft in the business context or is it in the family context?
  • Does it involve a stranger, or someone the accused is familiar with? 

Irrespective of whether the person, in fact, committed a crime, the issue is whether or not the prosecution can prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt. Simply, that is the legal standard and the evidence has to establish this. 

Whether someone likes someone else as a person, or a person thinks that what they did is right or wrong, that is not the issue. The issue is if someone is accused of a crime, determining the evidence that is admissible to use against them. Determining such elements of a New York theft charge can make the defense process easier. 

Paper Crimes

As another element of a New York theft case, an attorney will want to determine if this was a paper crime, where checks may potentially have been deposited into someone’s account.

These checks could be drafted from a customer or colleague, from a partnership, or from an owner whom he or she is employed by. This makes the defense more difficult because there is a paper trail.

Admission of Guilt

It is also important to determine if anyone has made any sort of admission of guilt. Even an apology can be an admission. If someone has signed off or made a statement about the case, whether or not it is a formal admission to the police, it is important to determine how it plays into the case.

The admission could be as small as an emailed apology to an employer. This classifies as a person’s acceptance of responsibility.

An apology is no different than an admission to the police. It may sometimes be worse, because it is much more difficult from a legal perspective to challenge that admission when it is not taken by law enforcement. If an accused makes an admission to a private citizen, the legal protections do not exist as if it was made to a police officer, detective, or prosecutor. 

Gathering Evidence 

In order to prepare and identify a defense, a lawyer must collect evidence before it is no longer available. A person accused of theft must advise their counsel so that they can start to chip away at that evidence or obtain what a person needs to challenge that evidence. 

Alternatively, a lawyer may look to mitigate their client’s conduct. They will aim to determine if there is possibly something going on in an individual's life at the moment that may explain an element of the New York City theft case.

Further, a lawyer will look to determine if possibly the individual could return the property or make restitution for the value of the property, or effectively settle case before it reaches law enforcement.

Determining the relevant elements of a New York theft case can best prepare an attorney to investigate and defend the charges their client is facing.

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