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The Legal Defense Strategies Available for Individuals Accused of Theft in Clifton


Even the pettiest theft allegation can land you a hefty prison sentence in Clifton if you do not have the right legal defense. The fines for theft in New Jersey can go as high as $75,000.

Whether you’ve been accused of petty theft, larceny, or grand theft, Clifton theft defense lawyers can help you build solid strategies to fight the charges.

We’ll be discussing the strongest theft defenses your lawyer can use to get you off the hook. After due consideration and analysis, your lawyer can decide on the exact strategy that is most suitable for your case.


When a person is intoxicated, they cannot understand the impact or consequences of their actions. If you committed the act while under the influence of an intoxicant, your lawyer can use this to get you a “Not guilty” verdict.

Lack of Intent

Theft is not always intentional. There are several scenarios in which we participate in the pilferage of an item without our knowledge. For instance, if you misplaced a friend’s credit card and that same card got into the possession of fraudsters who ended up wiping the account, you cannot be held completely liable for the theft.

People suffering from mental health conditions or any disorders affecting their memory can also use the lack of intent claim to revoke their liability for theft.

Mistaken Identity

Your lawyer can argue that the victim or witness mistakenly identified you as the thief. Clifton has security cameras in many public areas. You can provide an alibi with documented proof (work records, receipts) or security footage showing you elsewhere during the crime.


For example, let’s say you’re accused of stealing a phone at a store you frequent. Security footage from another store across town shows you buying coffee at the exact time of the theft.

Claim of Ownership

This defense applies if you’re accused of stealing something you believe belongs to you. For instance, if you loan an item to someone and they refuse to return it, taking it back without permission could be misconstrued as theft.

What you can do in a situation like this is to present loan agreements, receipts, or witness testimonies that can solidify your claim. If evidence like this is not available, your chances of convincing the judge and jury by word of mouth alone can be slim.


Normally, entrapment is when the police trick someone into committing a crime. But it can also happen with regular people, although it’s harder to argue.

In Clifton, New Jersey, to say you were entrapped by a regular person, you have to convince the judge of two things. First, you weren’t planning to steal anything anyway. Second, the other person talked you into it in a way that would make anyone steal something, even if they normally wouldn’t.


For example, imagine you’re working as a security guard at a clothing store. A friend convinces you to “borrow” a specific jacket for a night out, promising to return it the next day. You might be hesitant at first, but your friend constantly insists and offers to buy you dinner as compensation.

In this scenario, your friend’s persistent persuasion could be seen as entrapment, especially if you have no prior history of theft and the jacket’s value is relatively low.

Reasonable Doubt Due to Questionable Evidence

In court, the prosecution has to prove that you’re guilty for sure, no maybes. That’s called “beyond a reasonable doubt.” In your theft case, the prosecutor needs to show strong evidence that convinces everyone that you did it. If their evidence is shaky, that can help you.

Shaky evidence means things like:

●Witness stories that don’t match or contradict other evidence.

●Evidence that got messed up somehow, making it unreliable.

●Missing pieces of evidence, like security cameras not working when they should have.