Defending against embezzlement charges is likely the highest priority for anyone facing them. Accused individuals facing embezzlement charges may wonder how they can do that.
Because embezzlement is charged as a theft crime in Washington, accused individuals should focus on potential defenses to theft crimes when developing a criminal defense strategy if facing embezzlement charges.
Claim of right ownership or ownership of property
If the accused individual asserts a good faith belief in ownership of the property and that they had a valid claim of ownership to the property, they may be able to defend against any theft charges they are facing.
Return of property as theft defense
While it may not be a defense to theft charges, returning property taken to the rightful owner may help the accused individual in the eyes of the court.
If the accused individual was intoxicated at the time of the alleged offense, they may be able to establish that they lacked the necessary intent to steal the property. The intent required for theft charges is typically the intent to deprive the rightful owner of the property. If the accused individual was intoxicated at the time of the alleged offense, the accused individual may argue they lacked the intent necessary for the crime charged.
If the accused individual would not have committed the crime alleged without inducement from authorities, they may have an entrapment defense. Entrapments defenses can be challenging but are possible.
Other criminal defense options may be available, as always, if the accused individual’s constitutional rights were violated at any point, if witnesses statements are erroneous or if the alleged facts and evidence are unreliable. The best criminal defense option depends on the situation and circumstances which is why it is best to be familiar with all the different criminal defense strategies available when facing theft charges such as embezzlement.