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Can I Defend Against a Theft Charge Even if I Was Caught Stealing?

 Posted on August 31, 2022 in Criminal Law

Milwaukee Criminal Defense AttorneyGetting caught shoplifting can be scary, especially if you have never dealt with law enforcement before. Many people who purposely or accidentally shoplift small items are not exactly dangerous criminals, and while that is not an excuse for taking something that does not belong to you, you may rightfully feel as though it would be unfair for you to bear the full brunt of the criminal justice system. If you are facing charges for theft in Wisconsin, you may have options for a solid defense, even if it seems you were caught red-handed. 

Possible Defenses Against Criminal Charges of Theft

You may feel as though the police have all the evidence they need to convict you, but they still have to prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt - not always an easy feat when you have a great criminal defense attorney on your side. Depending on the circumstances of your case, your attorney may try to base a defense on one of the following options: 

  • Entrapment - When a police officer or other authority figure persuades someone to commit a crime they would not otherwise have committed, this may be considered entrapment. While entrapment is not the same as watching you commit the crime, or even appearing to help you commit the crime, if an officer convinced you to take something and then you get caught, entrapment may be a successful defense. 

  • Coercion - People often steal things because they are part of a gang or crime ring. Once people get involved in these groups, it can be difficult to get out. If you stole something because someone else threatened to harm you or your family if you did not commit the crime, coercion may be a successful defense. 

  • Mistaken identity - Eyewitnesses are unreliable and security camera footage can be grainy and poor. If you have been identified as a thief by someone who thought they saw you commit a crime, you may be able to defend yourself by proving you were somewhere else while the crime was being committed. 

  • The property is yours - Sometimes people are accused of stealing items that they recently bought somewhere else or that genuinely belong to them. If you took something that you believed was yours, a jury may find that your intention was not to steal. 

  • You made a mistake - Nearly everyone has been in a situation where they were shopping with other things on their mind and forgot to pay for an item or left items at the bottom of their basket unpaid for. If you can prove that you took something by genuine mistake, you may be acquitted.

Contact a Milwaukee County Criminal Defense Attorney

Even if you think your case seems hopeless, call a Milwaukee criminal defense attorney for help. You might be surprised by how an effective defense strategy can still help even in the toughest situations. Contact Bucher, Wolff & Sonderhouse, LLP today to schedule a free consultation and learn about how our experienced criminal defense attorney can build creative, effective defenses against the charges. 



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