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Sep 14, 2023

Theft of Services in Maine

 

Theft of Services Lawyers in Maine

Today’s topic of discussion concerns the crime of theft of services.

Now let’s take, for example, you go to your local auto mechanic. He fixes your car. You don’t like the job that he did, so you drive off without paying. Now, some people may think that that’s not a crime, that you’re entitled to do that. However, it is, in fact, a crime called “theft of services”; and it’s a serious crime. As a Class E Misdemeanor, it’s the least serious of all crimes. However, having a criminal conviction on your record is serious and you should be treating this charge seriously.

There may be circumstances as to why you didn’t pay for the service. Perhaps the person providing the service didn’t do what they promised to do or perhaps they did a poor job. While these may not be proper legal defenses, they are extenuating circumstances that could explain your position to the DA with the help of a qualified criminal defense attorney or if need be, to a jury.

Always keep in mind that just because you’ve been charged with a crime, such as a crime of theft, that doesn’t mean you’ll end up with a conviction. Keep in mind that a single conviction for theft can lead to a future felony charge if you begin to accumulate theft convictions. So, if you have two minor thefts in your background, perhaps you have two shoplifting charges in your background, and then you get hit with a misdemeanor theft of services, that misdemeanor theft of services could be boosted to a felony offense.

What constitutes “theft of services” under Maine law?

In Maine, “theft of services” refers to a criminal offense in which an individual obtains services or uses property without the owner’s consent and with the intent to deprive the owner of the full value of those services or property. The key elements that constitute theft of services under Maine law typically include:

  • Unauthorized Use: The defendant must have knowingly obtained services or used property without the consent or authorization of the owner.
  • Intent: The defendant must have had the intent to permanently or temporarily deprive the owner of the services or property’s full value.
  • Deprivation: The act must result in the owner being deprived of the economic value of the services or property, even if only temporarily.
  • Value Threshold: Maine law may specify a minimum value threshold that must be met for an offense to be considered theft of services. This threshold can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specific statute.
  • Knowledge: The defendant must have had knowledge that they were not entitled to the services or property they obtained.

It’s important to consult the specific Maine statutes (Title 17-A, Chapter 13 of the Maine Revised Statutes) and seek legal counsel to understand the precise elements and potential penalties associated with theft of services in your particular case, as laws can evolve and interpretations may vary.

How does Maine differentiate between theft of services and other theft-related offenses?

Maine differentiates between theft of services and other theft-related offenses based on the nature of the crime. Theft of services specifically involves obtaining services or using property without consent, intending to deprive the owner of their value. Other theft offenses, like larceny, involve unlawfully taking or misappropriating property with the intent to permanently deprive the owner.

Maine law (Title 17-A, Chapter 13) classifies theft offenses by degrees, considering factors such as the value of property or services stolen and the specific circumstances. Understanding these distinctions is crucial for legal defense and navigating the criminal justice system.

What are common defenses against theft of services charges in Maine?

Certainly, here are common defenses against theft of services charges in Maine, elaborated for better search optimization:

  1. Lack of Intent Defense: Demonstrating a lack of intent is a crucial defense. This involves showing that the accused did not have the intention to permanently or temporarily deprive the owner of the services or property. Proving that the actions were accidental or mistaken can support this defense.
  2. Consent as a Defense: A strong defense can be built on establishing that the defendant had explicit permission or consent to use the services or property. Providing evidence, such as written agreements or witnesses, can bolster this defense.
  3. Mistaken Identity Defense: The mistaken identity defense revolves around proving that the accused was not the individual responsible for the alleged theft. This may involve presenting alibis or evidence that another party committed the offense.
  4. Lack of Knowledge Defense: A defense based on lack of knowledge asserts that the defendant was genuinely unaware that they were not entitled to the services in question. Demonstrating that there was a misunderstanding or lack of awareness can be crucial.
  5. Value Dispute Defense: Disputing the value of the services can be an effective defense strategy. This entails arguing that the services’ value is in dispute or that it does not meet the threshold required for a theft offense under Maine law.
  6. Entrapment Defense: In some cases, claiming entrapment as a defense may be viable. This defense asserts that the defendant was coerced or induced into committing the theft by law enforcement or an external party. It requires demonstrating that the defendant would not have committed the offense without such inducement.

In times of legal uncertainty, trust The Maine Criminal Defense Group to provide you with the experienced guidance and representation you deserve when facing theft of services charges in Maine.

Our dedicated team of attorneys is committed to understanding your unique situation and crafting a tailored defense strategy. We are here to protect your rights and seek the best possible outcome for your case. Don’t hesitate to take action. Call us today at 207-571-8146 or conveniently reach out to us online for a confidential consultation.

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