OKC Criminal Defense Attorneys
(405) 593-8444
OKC Criminal Defense Attorneys
(405) 593-8444

Can The State Prove You Guilty On A Theft or Burglary Charge? Check Out This Info On Elements & Defenses

Can the Prosecution Prove You Guilty?  Or is There a Defense that Will Help Your Case?

If you've been charged with a crime, the Prosecution has the burden to prove you guilty.  If they don't have enough evidence, or the right kind of evidence, they may not be able to prove you guilty!

Elements of a Crime

All crimes have certain "Elements" that must be met in order for the prosecution to be able to prove you guilty.  If we can prevent them from being able to prove even one element, you are going to have a much better chance of getting the outcome you want!

So what is an Element of a crime?  The best way to explain it is to just show the elements for a few Theft (for example Larceny, Concealing Stolen Property, Burglary, etc.).  Elements are different for every crime, but most Theft related crimes will have similar elements.

Click here to see information for White Collar Offenses. (e.g. Embezzlement, Forgery, Fraud)

BURGLARY

There are several variations on this offense, so the following elements may vary somewhat, depending on the exact charges. For example, you could be charged with Burglary in the First Degree, Burglary in the Second Degree, Burglary in the Third Degree, or Breaking & Entering.

Here are the elements for Burglary in the First Degree.

No person may be convicted of burglary in the first degree unless the State has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each element of the crime. These elements are:

First, breaking;

Second, entering;

Third, a dwelling;

Fourth, of another;

Fifth, in which a human is present;

Sixth, with intent to commit some crime therein.

This means that, in order for the prosecution to be able to prove you guilty of Burglary in the First Degree, they have to prove that you: broke and entered another person's home, someone was in the home at the time, and you intended to commit some crime inside the home (e.g. to steal their tv).  

LARCENY

If you were charged with a different theft offense, for example, Grand Larceny, the elements would be similar, but different.

*Grand Larceny is larceny of property of a higher value, and is generally a felony.  Petty Larceny (often referred to as "Larceny of Merchandise from a Retailer," or "Shoplifting") is larceny of a lesser value, and is generally a misdemeanor.

The Oklahoma Uniform Jury Instructions states that:

No person may be convicted of grand larceny unless the State has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each element of the crime. These elements are:

First, taking;

Second, carrying away;

Third, of (personal property)/(one or more firearms);

Fourth, of another;

Fifthvalued at ($1,000-$2,499.99)/($2,500-$14,999)/($15,000 or more)/(from the person of another);

Sixth, by fraud/stealth;

Seventh, with the intent to deprive permanently.

This means that, in order for the prosecution to be able to prove you guilty of Grand Larceny, they have to prove that you: took and carried away property that belonged to someone else, the property had a certain value (the value generally determines the degree of offense and the range of punishment), by fraud or stealth, and you intended to deprive the owner of that property permanently (in other words, you were not going to return it).  

CONCEALING STOLEN PROPERTY

One more example of elements for a theft related offense:

The Oklahoma Uniform Jury Instructions states that:

No person may be convicted of concealing stolen property unless the State has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each element of the crime. These elements are:

Firstconcealing/withholding;

Secondstolen/embezzled/(fraudulently/feloniously obtained) personal property;

Third, from the owner/(person having possessory rights);

Fourth(known/believed by the defendant)/(that the defendant reasonably should have known/believed) to have been stolen/embezzled/ (fraudulently/feloniously obtained);

Fifth, with the intent to deprive permanently.

This means that, in order for the prosecution to be able to prove you guilty of Concealing Stolen Property, they have to prove that you: concealed stolen property from it's owner, and you knew or should have known that it was stolen, and you intended to deprive the owner of the property permanently. 

ADDITIONAL THEFT RELATED CHARGES

There are other theft related charges, but hopefully the above information gives you an idea of the types of things that the prosecution has to prove, and the potential defenses that can be used to your advantage.  Other theft charges include:

  • Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle,
  • False Declaration to a Pawn Broker,
  • Robbery (though this is generally treated more like an Assault offense), etc.

DEFENSES TO THEFT RELATED CHARGES

As you can see, the elements for the various theft related charges are similar.  So the Defenses that we would explore would involve looking at potential weaknesses in any of these elements.

  • The property did not belong to anyone else,

  • You did not intend to deprive the owner of the property,

  • The value of the money/property is less than what is alleged,

  • You had permission to have possession/use of the property,

  • You are not the one who took the property,

  • You did not know the property was stolen,

  • You entered the home, but you did not intent to commit a crime in the home, etc.

If you have been charged with a Theft, Larceny, or Burglary Crime, contact Fassio Law today by phone or e-mail so that we can help you!  405-593-8444 or clientrelations@fassiolaw.com

Serving the OKC Metro Area: Oklahoma County (Oklahoma City, Edmond), Cleveland County (Norman, Moore) and Canadian County (El Reno, Yukon, Mustang)

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