Tips When You are Under Arrest for Theft
Any encounter with police can be intimidating, but you could be overwhelmed if it leads to an arrest for theft. You may know that the charges are serious, and that the penalties for a conviction are harsh. Delaware’s theft laws define multiple offenses that are graded according to the value of the property stolen, along with other considerations. Depending on the facts in your case, you could face a Class A Misdemeanor for taking property valued at $1,500 or less from the owner. The charges are elevated to a Class B Felony when the amount is $100,000 or more.
A conviction can lead to a lengthy prison sentence and hefty fines, which is why hiring legal counsel is essential if you were charged with theft. However, there is a lot you can do to support your case yourself as well. Your efforts could assist your Wilmington theft crimes defense attorney with strategy, so check out some tips for when you are under arrest.
Exercise Your Right to Stay Silent: Under the 5th Amendment, you cannot be forced to testify against yourself. This very important legal concept is stated when police read your Miranda rights, the very first of which is the right to remain silent. Do not offer information or answer questions from the police, as your statements may help the prosecutor get a conviction against you.
Do Not Resist Arrest: You should absolutely never try to resist officers’ attempts to arrest you, since theft charges will be the least of your concerns if you attack a police officer. Any physical acts or threats of violence are clearly resisting arrest, but you could even run into trouble if you make verbal comments and insults.
Contact Your Lawyer: You should state your request to speak with a criminal defense attorney at the moment you are arrested, and make sure to repeat it until granted. It is your right to be represented by counsel when facing charges, and police could be guilty of misconduct if they refuse. Continue with the tip to remain silent until you have reached your lawyer and he or she is sitting beside you.
Plead Not Guilty: It is possible that you will not have counsel for your first appearance in court, which is your arraignment. During the hearing, the court will read the theft charges, work out the details of bail for pretrial release, and ask you to enter a plea. Your options are guilty, not guilty, and no contest, but you should always state not guilty for a theft case. This preserves the options for your attorney to defend your interests.
Trust a Delaware Theft Crimes Defense Lawyer to Fight for Your Rights
It is helpful to know tips about getting through an arrest for theft, but you will need legal help for the remaining steps in the case. For more information, please contact Attorney Michael W. Modica at 302.600.1262 or via our website. We can set up a consultation at our Wilmington, DE office to discuss additional details.