How To Avoid Being Convicted Of Stealing A Borrowed Car

22 September 2015
 Categories: Law, Blog

When you are in a relationship, a very heated breakup can lead to your partner wanting to get revenge. Your partner might decide that it is acceptable to accuse you of stealing something that was actually lent to you. If this is the case, you will need a criminal defense attorney who will help you prove that you did not steal the property.

Understanding Theft

The type of crime you are accused of is based not only on the actions you engage in, but also the future actions that the judge believes you intended to take. Theft occurs when you take property with the intent of depriving the owner of it. The penalties that you face are based on how much the property is worth. Depending on the state within which you reside, the value of the property can lead to either a misdemeanor or a felony.

When Theft is Obvious

There are some cases where you would not be able to argue that you were legitimately borrowing the property. For example, if you took a possession from your loved one and then take it to a pawn shop, this would indicate that you intended to permanently deprive your ex of his or her property.

When You Return the Property

Conversely, if you returned the property relatively soon, such as if you only drove a car around the block, you would not likely be charged with theft because you will need to have deprived the individual of the enjoyment of the property for a significant period of time. Even if the judge does believe that you committed a crime, you may be able to have it reduced to a much less serious crime. For example, if you argue that you intended to return the car, you may simply be convicted of joyriding. Still, if you have proof that you were given permission to drive the car, such as a witness testimony, you may be able to have the charges dropped altogether.

How Bragging Can Lead to Your Prosecution

Prosecutors sometimes use communication between you and your ex as evidence that you intended to keep the property. If you bragged that you would keep the car, for instance, this could be used as evidence that you intended to keep it. But given the context of the conversation, you could argue that you were simply joking or were angry, but actually intended to return the car. Regardless, you will need a criminal lawyer like Robert E Long & Associates Ltd who can help you effectively tell your side of the story.