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Theft Case Arraignments in DC

There are very specific procedures involved when it comes to an arraignment in a theft case. Between challenging the charge, gathering all the necessary and relevant evidence, and ensuring the right theft attorney is present are all critical elements of a theft case.

Theft charges can produce life-long consequences for the individual accused, including the loss of personal relationships and the inability to get employment in the future. If you have been charged with theft, it is important to hire an experienced lawyer to help reduce any penalties associated with your charge.

Considerations of an Arraignment

When a person is charged with theft, a judge will refer them to a theft case arraignment. The judge makes a decision at that time as to whether the person is going to be held in custody or what their release conditions will be.

This hearing is called an arraignment for misdemeanor offenses and called a presentment for felony offenses. Usually, with a felony charge, it is more likely that a judge will set restrictive release conditions or hold a person in custody.

To make a decision, a judge looks at the individual, the facts and circumstances of the allegations of the case, and the individual’s background or criminal history. Also, the judge considers the individual’s ties to the community, whether or not they are employed, and how stable they appear to be.

The judge is tasked with deciding if the individual before them is at risk of flight, meaning they are not going to appear for further hearings in their case and flee instead. Further, the judge must decide if the person is a danger to themselves or others. If they are, in fact, a danger to themselves or others, they need to be closely supervised and/or kept away from the public.

Theft case arraignments in the DC Superior Court take place in courtroom C-10 in the Superior Court building located at 500 Indiana Avenue, Northwest.

Theft Elements of an Arraignment

An arraignment or presentment for a felony theft charge differs from other crimes in the sense that theft, different from a robbery, is not a violent offense. This could be a very important distinction when presenting information to the court and arguing for the least-restrictive release conditions.

Violent offenses are viewed much more harshly by prosecutors in the courts. If the theft allegation does not involve any violence, that could be a very beneficial thing for the attorney to argue.

On the flip side, theft inherently involves an accusation of dishonesty and bad moral character. The attorney must dispute that issue so that a prosecutor or the judge will not look skeptically, or doubt the things being argued because the person is charged with a dishonest offense. Those are aspects of a theft case arraignment that can differ from the arraignments in other cases.

Unfreezing Counter-Efforts

If an individual’s counter-efforts are forfeited or frozen in conjunction with the arrest, they should have their attorney see if the proper procedures were followed. An attorney should challenge anything where proper procedures were not followed. He or she can look into having assets unfrozen or forfeiting the challenge based upon the specific facts and circumstances. An experienced attorney will take all the steps they can to protect their client, their client’s assets, and their well-being.

Risks to Family

Anyone arrested for a criminal offense should expect that the police will follow up with family and friends, looking for evidence or witnesses. Police always try to locate an individual who can tell them that the accused person admitted committing the crime to them. An admission by a defendant is an exception to the hearsay rule.

If the police are able to locate a witness who can testify that the person admitted the crime to them, they can secure that witness against the defendant. In that regard, the police follow up with family and friends of the defendant to interview them.

In a theft case, especially when all of the evidence has not been recovered, an individual can expect that the police may execute a search warrant on the home or homes where the person is known to stay, or to leave their property in an effort to find any missing evidence or evidence that ties the person to the theft crime.

Role of a Lawyer

A lawyer knows exactly what the judge considers, what types of information are important to the court, and what arguments to make for the least-restrictive release conditions possible. The lawyer knows what type of information must be gathered and presented to the court, and the best way to do it.

Even at the very beginning of a case, during the theft case arraignment, critical decisions are made that can affect the person’s day-to-day life in a very dramatic fashion. That is why it is incredibly important to have an experienced attorney from the very beginning, gathering the correct information and presenting the best possible information and arguments to the court.

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