Defending Pickpocketing and Purse Snatching Charges

Although pickpocketing and purse snatching may not seem serious to some people, judges and prosecutors have a different view. These allegations are usually charged as larceny or unarmed robbery.

Pickpocketing and Purse Snatching Charges in Michigan

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If a person steals an item from a person who is holding it or carrying it or wearing it, the law considers this more serious than stealing something while on another person’s property or in their car. Pickpocketing and Purse Snatching is considered more serious because there is a heightened danger of personal injury taking place because of the close proximity to the other person.

Crimes of Theft and Larceny

There are many types of theft, also known as larceny, and the penalties are different based on how the theft was accomplished and how much was taken. If the danger to the victim increases based on how the theft was accomplished, the penalty will increase. For example, the penalties for minor shoplifting (93 days in jail) are far less serious than that for armed robbery (life in prison).

Aside from pickpocketing and purse-snatching, some of the most common types of non-violent thefts are shoplifting, bicycle theft, thefts in buildings, thefts from cars, and thefts from coin-operated machines. Theft of cars is so common that this crime has a separate offense category.

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Pickpocketing

The terms pickpocketing and purse snatching are nick-names for crimes, such as larceny from a person and unarmed robbery. As the term implies, pickpocketing occurs when someone reaches into another’s pocket or purse and removes something of value. Stealing from a person without using force, or stealing from something closely connected to that person (such as a purse) is legally known as “Larceny from a Person.” Larceny from a Person is punishable by 10 years in prison and 5 years of probation. If physical force is used, such as physically overcoming the victim’s hold of the property, this would constitute an “Unarmed Robbery,” which is a 15-year felony, with 5 years of probation.

Purse Snatching

Snatching a purse from the physical possession of another person or from an area close to that person would constitute either a Larceny from a Person or Unarmed Robbery, depending on the amount of force used. For example, a purse could be grabbed out of a shopping cart or off a picnic table in a park. If no force is used, the offense will constitute larceny from a person, which is a 10-year felony. As with the shopping cart example, if the shopper saw what was happening and ended up in a tug-of-war situation with the alleged offender, such would constitute the crime of unarmed robbery, the 15-year felony.

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Defending Pickpocketing and Purse Snatching Cases

It is challenging to construct a defense to either of these charges. Some of the usual possible defenses to charges, such as no intent to steal, mistake, or consent, may not be available. The most common defense to pickpocketing and purse snatching is mistaken identity. However, even if there are no defenses at all, and a person is caught red-handed and confesses, there is always something a top-rated, astute defense expert attorney can do to help his client. Even if an attorney can’t get the charges dismissed, such an attorney can work to arrange a favorable plea agreement, which might involve a reduced charge, a reduced penalty, and a sentence that focuses on rehabilitation instead of jail. So, if you face one of these charges, all is not lost. 

Theft cases are often impulse-based or compulsive acts. Sometimes, the act of theft is not a product of dishonesty or greed. Actions such as these can be a result of stress, impulsivity, lack of self-worth, compulsion, or another mental health condition. Sometimes, thefts are committed when a person has a desire to be caught because they are crying out for attention or help for some psychological reason. A seasoned, respected defense attorney can argue that treatment and counseling is a more appropriate sentence than jail.

Defense Attorneys for Pickpocketing and Purse Snatching Charges in Michigan

The non-judgmental, top-rated attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are always able to devise a strategy to protect our clients, no matter what the odds. We have successfully defended thousands of clients over decades in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, and Livingston counties and throughout Michigan. We will find a way to help you.

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation, or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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