Criminal Defense for Theft in Salem Massachusetts

Are you facing theft charges in Massachusetts? If that’s the case, then you need to know that theft is a serious offence that can have unexpected consequences.

Being convicted of stealing might impact your ability to get an apartment or get employed. It could also affect your chances of securing college admission. And if you opt to go to medical or law school, it could prevent you from obtaining a license.

In Massachusetts, there are many valid defense strategies for theft cases, some of which are outlined below. And even if you believe that these strategies aren’t applicable to your case, be sure to speak to our top criminal lawyer, Paul R. Moraski, who’ll help to craft a game plan to fight your theft charges.

Claim of Ownership

This is probably the most common defense strategy for a theft crime. In claim of ownership, you basically try to convince the court that you believed that the item in question was yours. If you can pull it off, you might possibly escape a conviction. Claim of ownership often isn’t as easy as saying you thought the property was yours—you’ll also need proof to back up your claim.

Lack of Intent 

Often, especially when it comes to shoplifting, people inadvertently leave a store with items they didn’t pay for. These cases occur when one is distracted by a phone call, their children or simply being lost in thought. Lack of intent is a full theft defense if you didn’t purposely steal the goods. To use this defense, you’ll likely need to give a testimony of your intentions.

Lack of Presence

Home invasion and theft charges can be attacked with an alibi. The prosecutor needs to prove that you indeed were there when the property was stolen. You don’t have to prove your alibi—the prosecutor is the one to prove guilt and you don’t have to prove your innocence. If there’s reasonable doubt that you were there when the theft happened, the jury may find you not guilty.


It’s possible to successfully fight a theft charge if you can prove that you were intoxicated when the alleged theft happened. No matter the kind of intoxication—drugs, alcohol, or chemicals—you might have a valid intoxication defense if you weren’t able to form the necessary intent to steal (for instance, you mistakenly thought that the item belonged to you).

For example, if you’re arrested for mistakenly taking another person’s expensive leather jacket (thinking it belongs to you) because you’d had one too many to notice, you could have a viable defense. But you’d still have to provide proof. Moreover, while public intoxication is a possible defense to theft, it’s a crime in itself.


If you aren’t caught red-handed with the allegedly stolen item, identity is another possible defense. If the crown prosecutor is counting on an eyewitness or some footage of the theft, a skilled criminal lawyer can take various steps to discredit the prosecution’s case and create reasonable doubt regarding the identity of the individual who stole the items.

Hire a Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer for Your Theft Defense

If you’ve been charged with a theft offense, it’s best to consult a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense lawyer. Get in touch with Paul R. Moraski to review your case and start establishing potential defenses. Contact our law office to book your free consultation or get more information.