Tactics That Are Employed By Attorneys To Defend Theft Charges

Interviewer: Are there any specifics in the area of theft crime defense that they work better than others?

Ben Kelsen: Some of it depends on the type of case, if you have a case that’s involving a theft of services, a stronger defense on those cases is going to be that the person has no intent. That’s usually the strongest because at some point, one individual (the complainant) is out of money or out of an object or whatever. So the question you have to be able to say is: can you prove your case? How do I know that this individual is the one who stole your diamond ring? – how do I know that this individual is the one who took the designer jeans? How do I know this individual is who took the money from the register? So that’s the first thing you want to look at. What ties this person to the crime?

In Order To Convict An Individual Of A Theft Crime, It Is Necessary To Prove That They Committed The Crime And They Had Mental Intent

If they’re able to tie the person to the crime, which is what we call in latin actus reus, which means the action of doing something – the action that they did. The next thing you want to look at is the mens rea, which is the mental intent – did the person intend to take anything? So for example, if I ask a woman who’s leaving a store and the store video confirms that her kids threw five candy bars and my favorite was one of these new electronic figurettes – into the shopping cart, and suddenly you have a hundred dollars’ worth of stuff in the shopping cart. If the mother is trying to keep her wits about her – because she’s losing her mind – and wasn’t aware of, then that’s a question proving the intent. And if the video – and I’ve had where the video shows – the mother is clearly harried, she’s got one kid pulling over here and one kid pulling over there, and it’s clear that she didn’t touch the stuff, and it’s pretty clear that she wasn’t trying to leave the store with the stuff – you didn’t see her sticking it inside her purse or something like that – that becomes a defense. We have to take a look and see how that sort of works, and see how that plays out with each case.

The Courts May Or May Not Empathize With A Defendant Depending Upon The Circumstances of the Case

Interviewer: I didn’t know if there was any special sort of scenarios that the courts tend to look at these type of cases as terrible, terrible things or is it just a kind of a ‘already know’ events?

Ben Kelsen: It depends on the case. If it’s the case of the 80 year old veteran who’s stealing food, they’re going to be much more empathetic. If it’s the mother who’s so harried and is in the store and didn’t realize that the kids have put them in the shopping cart, or the mother that’s taken the baby formula and diapers, and tried to get out of the store with some – they’re much more empathetic to that than they are to the 19 year old girl who decided that she had to have the designer jeans and the designer boots. So if it’s something that is just an unfortunate situation – the courts generally can be more empathetic than they’re going to be for the person who’s taking a luxury item that if you don’t have wouldn’t make a difference. If you can’t afford it; you just have to do without it. And in the middle, you get cases of the drug addict who are stealing in order to feed their habit. And on the one hand drug addiction is recognized by the American Medical Association as an illness, and so you feel bad for this person who really can’t control themselves and they should get that fixed; on the other hand at some point you’ve got to stop and ask for help – and if everybody starts stealing to feed whatever habits they have, at a certain point society tends to fall apart.

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