Looting is something that many people are concerned about at this time as more and more businesses across America are shutting down due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. On the flip side of the looting concern, innocent people may find themselves arrested and charged with a looting crime if looting does begin to occur. If you charged with looting, a criminal defense attorney can help to defend you by bringing up common defenses in these cases. Here are the common defenses that a criminal defense attorney can raise if you have been charged with a looting crime.
You Were Not Present or Were Misidentified
One of the most common defenses to a looting charge is simply that it was not you. You may have been misidentified by witnesses, security camera footage may have been blurry and image may look like you but may look like many other people as well, and/or you may have an alibi for where you really were at the time the crime occurred. A prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was you who was looting the store, and your criminal defense attorney will work hard to discredit that it was you.
The Necessity Claim
Another common defense to a looting charge is the necessity claim. It is important to note that many states have a necessity clause, but not every state does. A necessity claim means that you were taking items that you needed to survive, not unnecessary items. For example, if your baby needed formula and you took a can of formula from a closed down store, you may have a necessity claim. It is also important to note that if you break any windows or doors, you can still be charged with vandalism or trespassing charges, but these charges may carry lesser penalties compared to looting.
You Had No Intention of Stealing or Looting
The final common defense to a looting charge is that you had no intention of stealing or looting. If you are found inside of a store that has been looted, you may be charged with looting. However, you may have been simply sleeping in the store or staying warm. In these cases, stating that you had no intention of stealing or looting may get you out of that charge, though you can still be charged with trespassing crimes.
Each and every looting case is different, including the facts surrounding the case and the reasons why you may have been charged. If you are arrested and charged with looting, it is important that you talk with a criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible. An attorney will learn the circumstances surrounding your case and work to create a defense that provides you with the best chance of being found not guilty at trial.
Contact a criminal defense attorney to learn more.