Briefly, if the defendant is out of jail and a Fort Worth criminal defense attorney can delay the case, a successful resolution is usually possible. However, if the defendant remains in jail or delay is impossible for another reason, these cases are very difficult to defend.
Some pilots say that any landing you can walk away from is a good landing. That saying does not inspire much confidence, but it is true. By the same token, an attorney may not be able to beat theft charges in court, but there could be another happy ending.
Theft and Jail Release
Pretrial release is usually not a problem in theft cases. Unless the defendant has an extensive criminal record and/or the stolen amount was very high, bail is usually rather low. Additionally, since theft is usually a nonviolent offense, pretrial release may be available. These defendants are released on their own recognizance pending trial.
Generally, the biggest problem is that defendants voluntarily plead guilty early in the process. That’s especially true if prosecutors offer to reduce felony charges to misdemeanors.
A quick plea may seem like a good idea. But because it is a crime of moral turpitude, a theft conviction has lifelong consequences. Furthermore, once the defendant pleads guilty, it is very difficult to expunge or seal the records.
In many criminal cases, delay accomplishes little. The only witness is a police officer, and officers may use their notes and reports to refresh their memories before they testify. Moreover, these individuals are used to testifying in court, even though they are testifying about events which happened months previously.
Not so for civilian witnesses, like owners of stolen property. These non-professional witnesses are not used to speaking in court, so a good attorney can often undermine their testimony. That’s assuming the witness is available at all. After many months, the owner may move beyond the court’s subpoena range, which is usually 150 miles, and refuse to cooperate. Prosecutors can still pursue charges in these situations, but it’s very difficult to do so.
If the prosecutor’s case is weak, it’s usually possible to successfully resolve the matter. Many times, this resolution involves pretrial diversion.
Programs vary in different courts. But generally, if the defendant completes some requirements, like community service and a self-improvement class, prosecutors dismiss the charges. As a result, the defendant has no criminal conviction.
Pretrial diversion may be available in other nonviolent cases as well, such as drug possession matters.
In the right environment, even serious theft charges are rather easy to resolve. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Fort Worth, contact Herreth Law. We routinely handle matters in Tarrant County and nearby jurisdictions.