Not all crimes involve bodily harm or the use of force or threats. Rather, some offenses result in the taking or destruction of another person’s property. While property crimes do not typically cause physical injuries, they are nonetheless serious offenses that are staunchly prosecuted by the Massachusetts courts. A conviction for a property crime can have permanent consequences, and if you were charged with such an offense, it is prudent to speak with a trusted attorney to discuss your potential defenses. Gary Pacella of the Law Office of Gary Pacella is a knowledgeable New Bedford property crime defense lawyer dedicated to helping people charged with property crimes protect their interests, and if you hire him, he will set forth compelling arguments on your behalf. Mr. Pacella has an office in New Bedford, and he regularly represents parties in criminal cases in New Bedford and Fairhaven, Fall River, and Wareham.Property Crimes Prosecuted in Massachusetts
Property crimes involve the theft or damage of property or money without the threat or use of force against the victim. Examples of property crimes include arson, theft of services, trespass, shoplifting, and breaking into a dwelling with the intent to commit a felony.
Many property crimes involve an element of intent. For example, arson is the act of maliciously and willfully burning or setting fire to property, which includes motor vehicles and boats, while breaking into a dwelling with the intent to commit a felony during the day or at night, involves breaking into and entering another person’s property with the intent to commit a crime. Similarly, shoplifting is intentionally taking or carrying away any merchandise displayed or offered for sale in a store, and theft of services entails the knowing securing of services by deception or threat.The Prosecution Burden in Criminal Cases
If a person is charged with a property crime, they do not have to offer any testimony or proof regarding their innocence. Instead, they are presumed innocent until proven guilty, and the prosecution bears the burden of offering evidence sufficient to convince the judge or jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed each element of the crime with which they are charged. In other words, the State must show that upon review of all the facts and evidence, a reasonable person can come to no other conclusion but that the defendant is guilty. If the prosecution is unable to meet this burden, the defendant can argue that the charges against them should be dismissed. Even if the prosecution has compelling evidence, the defendant may be able to offer numerous defenses. What defenses they can assert depends on the unique facts of their case.Constitutional Rights of Criminal Defendants
People charged with crimes may feel as if the prosecution holds all the cards, but they have numerous rights under the United States Constitution. For example, the Fourth Amendment protects people against unreasonable search and seizure, which prohibits searches without a warrant or probable cause. Any illegally obtained evidence that violates the Fourth Amendment should not be introduced against a defendant at trial. The Fifth Amendment protects defendants from self-incrimination, which means that a defendant cannot be compelled to give testimony that would prove their guilt. The Fifth Amendment also grants protection against double jeopardy, which means that a person cannot be prosecuted or convicted more than once for the same crime.
Under the Sixth Amendment, criminal defendants are afforded the right to an attorney, the right to confront any witnesses the State will rely on in proving its case, and the right to a speedy trial. In cases in which the State unjustly delays a criminal trial, the charges against the defendant may be dismissed. Lastly, the Eighth Amendment grants criminal defendants the right to reasonable bail and, if a defendant is convicted of a crime, protection from cruel and unusual punishment. The Massachusetts Constitution grants criminal defendants many of the same protections as the United States Constitution.Talk to a Skilled New Bedford Property Crime Defense Attorney
Property crimes typically carry significant penalties, but criminal charges often do not result in a conviction, and criminal defendants have numerous rights under the law. If you are charged with a property offense, it is in your best interest to meet with a lawyer to discuss your case. Gary Pacella is a skilled New Bedford criminal defense attorney who is proficient at defending people charged with serious crimes, and if he represents you, he will advocate zealously on your behalf. Mr. Pacella has an office in New Bedford, and he frequently defends people accused of property crimes in New Bedford and in Fairhaven, Fall River, and Wareham. You can reach Mr. Pacella through the online form or by calling him at 508-525-4147 to schedule a confidential and free meeting.