You borrowed your neighbor’s lawnmower when he wasn’t home, and you intended to return it. You didn’t have time that night to let him know, and before you knew it, he’d reported it missing to police. They came knocking on your door, and now you’re in trouble with the law.

It wasn’t your intention to steal the lawnmower, and it’s all a misunderstanding. You thought you would be able to ask and use it when your neighbor was home, like he suggested you could in the past, but he wasn’t home. Are you really at fault now?

What is larceny?

Larceny is defined as unlawfully taking someone else’s property without consent and with the intention to deprive the owner of the property permanently. For defendants, this definition is extremely important, because it can make or break a case.

How can you defend against larceny accusations?

The best way to defend against larceny accusations is to show outright that you didn’t commit the crime. For instance, if you can show that you were borrowing an item and intended to return it, that would help your case immensely, since larceny charges require that you intended to take the property permanently. Likewise, if you can show the property is actually yours or that you’ve been falsely accused, the defense can work well for you.

Interestingly, if your spouse accuses you of larceny but you live together, the charges won’t hold under that terminology. Instead, you’ll face charges for the misappropriation of marital property, which is handled differently. Additionally, if you thought the property was yours but then found that it was actually not and that you made an error, larceny may not be an appropriate charge. People who believe something is theirs in good faith typically won’t be found guilty of larceny.

Misunderstandings happen. If you’re accused of larceny, it’s important to fight back quickly with a strong defense. Our website has more on this important topic.