Arrested For Petty Theft? 3 Defenses Against The Charges

If you've been arrested and charged with petty theft, you need to speak to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Just because you've been charged with the crime, it doesn't mean you're guilty. An experienced defense attorney may be able to help you avoid being convicted of the charges. Here are three common defenses for petty theft.

Lack of Intent

While in the store, you picked up an item to look at. You thought you might want to buy it, so you carried it with you while you looked around the store. When you left the store, you forgot you still had the item in your hand. Store security followed you out and asked you to return to the store. Once you returned, you were arrested for petty theft. Since you didn't have an intent to commit theft, your attorney should be able to help you avoid prosecution or conviction.

Permission from the Owner

While your neighbor was on vacation, you texted them and asked to borrow their chainsaw. When they returned from vacation, they noticed that it was missing and found it in your yard. Forgetting that they said you could borrow it, they call the police and file a theft report.

Because you had permission from the owner – whether they remember giving permission or not – you have not committed petty theft. Whenever you borrow property from someone, be sure to obtain physical proof of the permission, such as a letter or text message.

You Thought the Property Belonged to You

You're missing something from your own yard. While driving through the neighborhood, you see what appears to be your property in someone else's yard. So, you stop and pick it up. Shortly after returning home, the police show up and arrest you for theft. You find out that the property you took was not yours and the owners are pressing charges against you for the theft of their property.

You thought the property was yours when you took it, so no crime has been committed. Your attorney may suggest that you provide proof that you own property that is exactly like the item you took.

Being arrested and charged with a crime is a frightening experience. If you've been arrested for petty theft, you need to speak to a criminal defense attorney. If you didn't intend to commit the crime, your defense attorney will need to know the circumstances surrounding your arrest. Check out websites like for more information.