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Defenses to Theft Crimes

Experienced Birmingham Criminal Defense Lawyer Developing Compelling Defenses on Behalf of Clients Facing Serious Property Crimes

If you’ve been arrested for a Birmingham theft crime, it may feel as though defenses are hard to come by. This is especially the case if you were in possession of stolen goods at the time you were arrested. However, there are many compelling defenses to theft crimes; you just need to have an experienced Birmingham theft crimes lawyer who is willing to put in the work to identify the best defense for your case.

At the Stoves Law Firm, P.C., Attorney Jason Stoves is a veteran criminal defense lawyer with decades of experience successfully handling theft cases. We’re familiar with the best defenses to theft crimes, when they apply, and how to use them to resolve your case in the most favorable way possible—as quickly as possible.

The Best Defenses to Alabama Theft Crimes

While every case is different, all Alabama theft crimes involve similar elements, meaning the defenses are also similar. Some of the best defenses to theft crimes include the following:

Lack of Intent

In Alabama, theft requires intent to unlawfully deprive the owner of their property. If you didn’t intend to steal, this could be a strong defense. For example, if you believed that the property was yours or that you had permission to use it, you could argue that there was a misunderstanding rather than criminal intent. This defense can be particularly effective if you can provide evidence supporting your belief or misunderstanding about the property’s ownership.

Example: You are accused of theft of property for allegedly taking a woman’s purse. However, your wife has a similar purse to the one you took, and you thought you were grabbing your wife’s purse.

Mistake of Fact

This defense applies if you genuinely believed the facts to be different from what they actually were. For example, if you took someone else’s property thinking it was identical to your own, you could argue that this mistake of fact negates the requisite criminal intent for theft. Documented evidence showing why you believed the property to be yours, such as a receipt or witness testimony, can support this defense.

Example: You paid for goods through an online app and then went to pick them up. However, unbeknownst to you, the payment was rejected, and the owner of the goods reported the theft to the police.

Illegally Obtained Evidence

If you were arrested in possession of stolen goods, you may be able to challenge the officer’s actions leading up to your arrest. If you can establish that the officers violated your constitutional rights by conducting a search or effectuating an arrest without the necessary probable cause, any evidence the officers obtained may not be admissible at trial.

Example: Police officers pull you over for speeding and immediately pull you out of the vehicle. They searched your car without your permission and found stolen goods.


Just because you are found in possession of stolen property doesn’t mean you committed theft or knew the objects were stolen. To convict you of theft, it’s up to the prosecution to establish that you were the one to take the goods. And, to convict you of being in possession of stolen property, they must prove that you knew the property was stolen.

Example: You bought a watch from someone on the street who claimed they ran into hard times and needed money for rent. You didn’t ask questions and paid for the watch. 

Of course, you should consult with an experienced Birmingham theft lawyer before settling on which defense will work best in your case, as it is essential to ensure that your selected defense matches the facts of your case.

Have You Been Charged with Theft in Birmingham?

If you are facing theft charges, it is important that you discuss all possible defenses with a dedicated Birmingham criminal defense lawyer to determine which makes the most sense in your case. At the Stoves Law Firm, P.C., Attorney Jason Stoves has more than 25 years of experience creating and conveying compelling defenses on behalf of clients charged with shoplifting, theft of property, robbery, and other theft crimes. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call the Stoves Law Firm, P.C. at (205) 823-7233, or you can connect with us through our secure online contact form.

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"Jason was very sweet and informative he made sure I kept up with my case and also help get me off a very serious charge and he is very affordable I would definitely recommend him to everyone."

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"The Stoves Law Firm worked hard to get the best results I was looking for. Providing excellent advice and direction throughout the entire process. I would highly recommend The Stoves Law Firm!"

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"Was looking for a good real estate closing attorney and found one here with the stoves firm . Quick and efficient. Looking forward to the next deal! Thanks Jay."

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