Theft is a statutory offence. According to Section 1 of the Theft Act 1968, the criminal offence of theft is committed where a person dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other person of the property. It fails to matter if the offender intended to deprive the owner of the property in order to make a gain or for his or her own benefit. For theft allegations to stand and in order for the prosecution to secure a conviction, the elements of theft as outlined by the theft Act must be present. In the first instance, it is crucial to the prosecution’s case that the appropriation or taking possession of the property in question took place already. ‘Appropriation’ in this context means where an offender assumes ownership of someone else’s property as if it was theirs. Secondly, there must be a property for the appropriation to take place; the stolen property must belong to another and must have been taken from them dishonestly.
The reference to property is not limited to any particular item or object. Section 4 of the Theft Act clarifies that ‘property’ may be money an any other property which may be real or personal, things in action as well as intangible property. For the purpose of theft therefore, the term ‘property’ covers a wide variety of assets and belongings and any other possessions belonging to someone else. Finally, the prosecution must be able to prove that it was the offender’s intention to permanently deprive the owner of the property.
Where our criminal defence solicitors can evidence that the offender had only intended to ‘borrow’ the property for a short period of time and to thereafter return it to the owner, the criminal offence of theft may be substituted with a lesser charge; such as Taking Without Owner’s Consent and this will reflect on the sentence. The ‘intention’ element is hard for the prosecution to prove, particularly where the defence team can establish the offender’s intent to return the property (although initially taken without the owner’s consent) to the owner at some point. As experts in the field of defending our valued clients facing criminal allegations of any kind, our lawyers are well versed in the art of challenging the prosecution and demanding unequivocal proof of our clients’ intention. This is a hard proof for the prosecution to provide and on the back of this, we have successfully defended numerous clients and saved them from the prospect of prison.
Sentencing for Theft
The maximum sentence for the criminal offence of theft upon conviction under indictment at the Crown Court is 7 years imprisonment under Section 7 Theft Act. Where the trial for theft is held at the Magistrate’s Court, the maximum sentence for theft is a prison term not exceeding 6 months or a fine or both. The seriousness and aggravating factors of a theft case determine the severity of the sentence. In the same manner, where there are mitigating factors such as the offender’s previous good behaviour and clean record, the sentence may be drastically reduced. Our lawyers are amongst the best criminal defence solicitors in London and have a proven track record of successfully defending clients who are facing theft charges.
It is very important that you contact us as soon as possible after you become aware of the possibility of being charged with a theft offence. We will accompany you to the Police Station interview which can be a very stressful experience and ensure that you are not bullied into making a confession under coercion. You will also be given specialist advice every step of the way until the case against you is over. Contact us today and significantly increase your chances of securing the most favourable result under the circumstances.
Robbery is aggravated theft. This means that the only difference between theft and robbery is the threat and/or use of violence. Otherwise, both offences occur when a person steals from another. The offender under a robbery charge however employs violence which is not the case in theft. The presence of aggravating factors such as the person being a repeat offender, using weapons at the time of the robbery; thereby turning the offence to armed robbery, being currently on caution or any other such factor might make the offence more serious. At the same time, mitigating factors may be present in other cases and the seriousness of the offence lowered where the individual is a first time offender or where defence can argue that the theft was carried out in desperation for a variety of reasons.
Theft and burglary are quite serious offences which may result in lengthy custodial sentences; a scary prospect for anyone. If you have been arrested for burglary or if you or anyone you know is facing a burglary, theft or robbery charge, you are best advised to ensure that you are being represented by an expert team of criminal defence lawyers who are widely knowledgeable in defending theft and burglary charges. Depending on the particular circumstances of every case, theft, robbery and burglary sentencing in the UK usually involves a custodial sentence or a fine or both. Speak to one of our specialist defence lawyers today and be rest assured that your case will be vigorously and robustly defended.