Taking something that does not belong to you is known to be wrong and unlawful. However, what if an individual was mistaken, believing that the item was theirs? Furthermore, an individual may not even be aware that they took an item that was not his or hers. In such matters, an individual could still face criminal charges; however, these factors could play a role in a defense action for allegations of theft.
Texas theft laws
In the state of Texas, theft occurs when there is a taking of property with the intent of depriving the owner of the property. While a direct taking of the property could constitute a theft, theft could also occur when there is the taking of property by a person that knew the property was already stolen by someone else. Finally, a theft charge could result if a person fails to perform an affirmative act that would prove that the item being sold or given to them has not been stolen.
Depending on the factors surrounding the charges, an individual could utilize one or more of these defense options against a theft charge. First, one could assert a lack of intent. Theft is an intentional crime; therefore, if one could prove the lack of intent, this could help dismiss the charges. Next, one could assert mistake of fact, which could occur if the property was thought to be stolen when it fact it was not. Other defense options include duress and age, as being a minor could help to reduce the penalties.
Like any criminal charges, it is imperative for an individual to explore their defense options. By gaining a better understanding of the charges against them and potential penalties, the accused could take proper action to assert a defense that could help reduce or even dismiss the charges altogether.