It is no secret in California that theft can lead to serious criminal charges and the possibility of hefty fines or even a prison sentence. Furthermore, a conviction for this sort of offense can be extremely damaging to your reputation. However, it is a sad fact that it is possible to be accused of theft when you have done nothing wrong. For example, you may have borrowed an item from a neighbor who later forgot they had lent you the item and thought you have stolen it.
If you have been accused of theft, it is important to consider the circumstances under which the alleged event occurred. For example, if you were intoxicated at the time, you may have thought something belonged to you when in truth it did not. Similarly, if you own something that resembles the stolen property, it is reasonable to assume that you may have mistaken it for your own and taken it in error.
As this article on criminal defense explains, returning property that has been stolen does not necessarily enable you to escape charges. However, if the property was borrowed, you should not have to endure criminal accusations. Even so, it may be difficult to prove that the item in question was not stolen without a thorough and careful presentation of the facts, so a good defense is key.
If you are facing theft charges or you have been accused of any other property crime, all is not lost. You are innocent under the law unless guilt can be proven beyond any reasonable doubt. Fortunately, an attorney may be able to help you preserve this doubt. He or she can evaluate your case and may be able to help you build your defense and ensure that your side of the story is heard by the court.