I Am Being Falsely Accused of Larceny, What Should I Do?
Being falsely accused for stealing is serious. You might be innocent, but the actions you take following those false allegations can affect you the rest of your life.
Most importantly, do not speak to anyone if you are falsely accused of theft. Whether you are at home, at the site of the alleged crime, or at the police station and being questioned by the police, now is the time to contact an attorney. Police know how to get someone to incriminate themselves, and anything you say to the police can be used against you.
When you are accused of any crime – not just theft – and you are innocent, you have to realize that what you say can be used against you. You should be read your Miranda rights if you are under arrest. But if you are not detained, what you say could be used against you and you will not hear those rights at the time you are questioned. Therefore, you must not answer questions without an attorney present.
Also, anything you say to anyone else can be used as a statement to the police, and a prosecutor can call that person to testify against you as a witness for the state. Even if you think that, if you say something to an officer, family, or friend, that will help you (such as a defense or alibi), these are often misconstrued and can be twisted negatively against you.
Likewise, do not post anything on social media while you are the center of an active investigation. Again, your words on social media can be used against you – despite your innocence.
Retain an Albuquerque Defense Attorney, Immediately
If you are innocent, now is not the time to assume that the system will figure out your innocence for you. Instead, you need to hire an advocate to fight for your rights and prove that you are indeed innocent. Waiting too long could only put the chances of a guilty conviction higher up on the radar.
The penalties you face for a larceny conviction depend on numerous factors, including the amount of money or value of the property allegedly stolen. The more valuable, the higher the jail sentence and fine. Even for petty theft, you could face fines and have a permanent criminal record. Therefore, do not take these crimes lightly.
Once you are convicted of a crime, you will have a theft conviction that follows you around for the rest of your life. It will show on any background check conducted using your name, date of birth, and social security number. It may exclude you from employment opportunities, housing, state and federal aid programs, and even enlisting in the military.
Jail Times and Penalties if Convicted
You know the long-term consequences, but now how about the time you might spend in jail if you are convicted?
The type of larceny you are convicted of will determine the penalty, and these are based on the dollar value of the property stolen, such as:
- Misdemeanor Petty Theft – In this instance, you did not steal more than $250 worth of property and you are now facing a petty misdemeanor, which means no more than six months in jail and a fine that cannot exceed $500 – or both.
- Misdemeanor Theft – You have stolen over $250 but no more than $500. Now you can face up to one year in jail and a fine of no more than $1,000 – or both.
- Fourth Degree Felony Theft – Now you are facing a felony which will gravely impact the rest of your life. You have allegedly stolen more than $500 but under $2,500. You could face 18 months imprisonment and a fine of $5,000.
- Third Degree Felony Theft – Property can include anything over $2,500 but no more than $20,000 – or if you have stolen livestock of similar value. Now you are facing up to three years imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000.
As you can see, even a charge of petty larceny carries grave consequences, including up to six months incarceration for a crime that you did not commit.
Prior Convictions Affect You, Too
Most importantly, if you have any prior convictions on your record, this will possibly impact the sentence the judge gives you if you are convicted of this new crime – innocent or not. New Mexico does have a habitual offender law. This means that, if you commit one or more felonies within a ten-year limit, you will have an enhanced penalty applied to your case.
Start Taking Notes Immediately
The moment you become a suspect, contact a criminal defense attorney. Then, start mounting your defense with notes and recollections. Write down where you were at the time of the act, who was around, witnesses that might vouch for your presence, and anything else that you can think of that may help you in your case.
Also, you will meet with your attorney, and they will immediately start working on your defense. Their primary goal will be to look for security camera footage – proving that the alleged suspect is not you. They could also talk with witnesses that you remember, develop alibis, and help prove that you were nowhere near the crime or that you couldn’t have stolen what you were accused of stealing.
Who Should You Hire?
If you are being accused of theft, you need a criminal defense attorney with experience handling theft crimes.
The attorneys at New Mexico Criminal Law Offices have years of experience in these very types of cases. We can certainly work on creating your defense immediately. And if you call about being questioned by the police, we will send an attorney to your side so that you are not left alone in an interrogation. Furthermore, we will work to disprove the prosecution’s case and show that you are, in fact, innocent.
To get started, you will want to call and schedule a free consultation with our attorneys. You can reach us by calling our office, or you can request more information about our legal services online, at any time.