Prosecuting a New York Theft Charge

To prove that an individual is guilty of theft, the prosecution must prove that a person intentionally deprived or took property from another person. The charge can also be brought forward when an individual takes from a business or company, without permission, for their own benefit or gain. The charge is defined simply as a wrongful taking from the owner of that property.

To defend against the prosecution of a theft charge in New York City, it is pertinent to consult with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. A knowledgeable theft attorney can help reduce or dismiss any penalties associated with the charge.

Determining Probable Cause

When prosecuting a theft charge in New York, the court must establish how someone went about the theft. This, however, does not necessarily need to be determined out of the gate. All the prosecution needs to do is get permission for the arrest or probable cause to grant the sufficient documents against the person, called a complaint.

Probable cause to make an arrest and the filing of a criminal complaint is fairly bare bones. All of the evidence and facts need not be presented to make an arrest and have a defendant arraigned on a felony or misdemeanor charge.

Indictment Process

To get an indictment against a person, law enforcement must show that an individual intentionally took property or withheld property without permission from the owner. The grand jury can indict a person when the prosecutors present minimal evidence.

A person can be indicted by a grand jury even before they have been arrested. The standard is low, and merely a reasonable cause to believe a felony was committed.

To be indicted, a person must knowingly possess that stolen property. It is not a defense for a theft charge for an individual to simply declare that they did not steal the property in question. A person does not have to steal something to be in possession of stolen property; they just have to know that it was stolen and not have done anything about it.

Gathering Evidence

Whether the allegations are larceny or possession of stolen property, the prosecution during a New York City theft charge can have a case solely based on circumstantial evidence without an eyewitness.

Sometimes, it is done on paper, sometimes through records, and sometimes through people. In these cases, evidence can be direct or circumstantial.

Knowingly Possessing Stolen Property

If someone stole something and the defendant was not with the person at the time, but ended up knowingly receiving stolen property from that individual, they may be charged with criminal possession of stolen property rather than petit or grand larceny.

The two latter crimes are the same, it is just a matter of degrees. One charge describes knowingly possessing stolen property and the other is the act of taking. They do not have to be mutually exclusive but can be.

Additionally, an individual does not have to be the actual taker of property or personal possessor of such property to be convicted of grand larceny in the prosecution of a New York theft charge. The prosecution can argue that the individual was acting in concert or as an accomplice. If an individual is involved, facilitated the theft, or shares the intent, they can be an accomplice in a theft charge.

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