Common Defenses to Theft Charges in Chicago

boris-debusscher-485536-copy-207x300Facing an arrest and charges of theft in Chicago is never an easy situation. Whether this is the first time you have been arrested or you have gone through this before, it never gets easier. You might have to face a different judge or have your case handled by a different prosecutor. Either way, there are defenses available to you to fight the theft charges so you do not simply have to give up your freedom and spend time in jail.

Right of Ownership

One of the most commonly used defenses to theft charges is right of ownership. You can not simply tell the judge that you thought the item belonged to you and hope that this will work in your favor. You will need to provide some sort of evidence that proves it makes sense that you would believe the item you took belonged to you. This can be an invoice, receipt, warranty, owner’s manual, or any other piece of evidence that proves you either own the property or that you believed you owned the property.

The Property was Returned

Another defense you could use when facing theft charges is that the property was returned. Now, you actually had to have returned the property to use this defense. There is no guarantee that the defense will work and the charges will be dropped. It is quite possible that you took the item by mistake and decided to return it to its rightful owner. If this is the case, you can argue that you returned the property and that the owner can testify that this is the case. Is it possible you borrowed something from a neighbor, forgot to return it, and then they reported it stolen? An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you navigate these complex situations.


Was it possible that you were impaired when the property in question was ‘stolen?’ If this is the case you can use the defense of intoxication when you try to have the charges dropped by the judge. It does not matter if you were intoxicated due to drugs or alcohol. If you can prove that you were intoxicated, it can help show that you did not have the cognitive ability to know you were stealing property when the crime was committed.

This defense usually works best when it was an honest mistake committed while intoxicated. For example, perhaps you took someone else’s coat at a party because you thought it looked like your coat. You will need to provide strong evidence to help back this claim, such as bringing your similar looking coat to the court to show the judge.


Entrapment occurs when someone is compelled or encouraged to commit a crime so the person can be prosecuted for that crime. It is possible that you could claim entrapment as a defense to your Chicago theft charges. It is entirely likely that you were convinced or encouraged to steal an item by someone else and that other person had the goal of turning you into authorities as the crime was committed. Being lured into committing theft is a difficult defense to prove, but it can be done with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

As you can see, there are quite a few defenses available if you are ever charged with theft in Chicago. It is a crime that can be challenged if you have the evidence to support your claim and an experienced attorney who knows how to evaluate such cases effectively. Contact the office of David Freidberg today to schedule a consultation about your case. The office can be reached at 312-560-7100. The sooner you call, the sooner you can begin the fight against theft charges.

(image courtesy of boris-debusscher)

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