Larceny of merchandise from a retailer – how to defend?
Larceny refers to taking away someone else’s property non-consensually, intending to deprive them of their ownership permanently. 

In simple terms, it is much like stealing or shoplifting. 

However, in such a case, defendants have a fair chance of acquittal with the help of legal services.

Lawyers use some standard defenses which can prove the incrimination based on the incident is not possible.


When does a case qualify as larceny?

The prosecution can proceed with a larceny hearing if the case ticks the following boxes –

  1. Unlawfully taking and carrying away
  2. A retailer’s merchandise
  3. Valued at any amount
  4. Without their consent or knowledge
  5. To keep it permanently

Every defense approach begins with observing the elements. If the defendant’s actions do not satisfy all the mentioned points, the verdict may be in their favor.


Defense: Misunderstood ownership rights

It would not be larceny if the person took their owned property. Hence, lawyers can prove in court that the person believed they procured ownership of the merchandise before they left. The case becomes invalid, and the defendant walks free.

Nevertheless, the evidence could be circumstantial, and it does not eliminate reasonable doubt from the prosecution’s mind.


Defense: Entrapment

Defendants can claim innocence in the case and prove that they are innocent. For instance, they may not have taken the merchandise, but someone framed them or was in the wrong place at a bad time.

Moreover, the defendant should not have any prior intentions or motivation to steal from the retailer. The defense also fails if they were involved in inciting the crime or having indirect involvement.


Defense: Consensual

It is possible that the retailer deliberately set up the incident to claim insurance for the property. Hence, the case would move to insurance fraud for the defendant and the plaintiff.

The concept of consent is significantly contextual. If there was an agreement between the two parties regarding the transfer, it is not larceny.

Sometimes a retailer may suspect someone of stealing and set them up to confirm their wits. In this case, the charges stand as the behavioral pattern of the defendant led to them committing larceny willingly.


Defense: Duress

In some cases, another party may have coerced the defendant into committing the felony through blackmail or threats.

Lawyers need to produce substantial proof to validate the claims that the incident was not voluntary.

Hence, the court drops all charges as it does not mean the defendant committed the crime.


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