Jonathan Rose, Attorney at Law
Orlando Criminal Law
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Could forgetfulness lead to criminal theft charges?

You and many other Florida residents may have been cursed with a bad memory. You may find yourself having to set multiple alarms and reminders in order to remember particularly important dates or activities, and you may have found yourself in trouble with a loved one for forgetting an anniversary or birthday. While you may not find yourself in the doghouse for long for such mishaps, you could potentially end up looking at the jailhouse if you forget to return a borrowed item.

Though most individuals tend to take a lax approach when working to get borrowed property returned, some parties may take such a slight very seriously. As a result, a neighbor or other person could potentially accuse you of theft for not returning a borrowed item. In such a scenario, you may feel particularly confused as to whether serious criminal charges could result.

Intent

As with any crime, in order to have committed the act of theft, you would need to have had the intention of taking the item and not returning it. Without criminal intent, the likelihood of charges coming about remains fairly low. Additionally, specific intent applies to most criminal theft cases, and if you did not have the specific intent to deprive another person of a piece of property, it is unlikely that the prosecution could build a strong case against you.

Because of the requirement for intent, your bad memory may not land you in legal trouble as forgetting to return a borrowed item does not constitute a crime. Of course, you could still face issues if a person believes you had intent.

Proof

Even if someone accuses you of theft and criminal charges come against you, a conviction must occur in order for you to face punishment. When it comes to proving the specific intention of stealing an item rather than borrowing it, convincing a jury beyond a reasonable doubt can be challenging. Therefore, you may have a higher chance of walking away with a not-guilty verdict if the prosecution has little or no evidence to prove your intent.

Certainly, when dealing with any type of criminal allegations, you want to ensure that you have the right information about the charges and your defense options. By utilizing local reliable legal resources, you may better understand the legal proceedings ahead of you and determine what steps you may want to take to address your predicament.

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Jonathan Rose, Attorney at Law
337 North Fern Creek Avenue
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