Theft and Dishonesty Offences

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Theft and Dishonesty offences

Theft and dishonesty offences are commonly those involving situations where a person intentionally removes or otherwise takes possession or control of another person’s property without consideration or permission. The stealing must be a deliberate act. It cannot be committed by accident. A person must therefore act “dishonestly” in order to be guilty of an offence.

A wide range of offences require a court to make a finding of dishonesty. Dishonesty has a particular legal meaning It is a two stage test If a person is accused of being dishonest, the first question is “would a reasonable and honest person describe the action as dishonest?” If the answer is yes, then the next question is “must the accused person have realised that what he was doing was dishonest by those standards?” If the answer to both of these questions is yes, then the dishonesty element of the offence is proven. Depending on the offence, there are other ingredients that must be proved before a person can be found guilty.

Types of Offences

Theft and dishonesty offences are some of the most common offences and are generally covered by the Theft Act 1968. They can be tried in the Magistrates’ or the Crown Court. Offences include:

  • Theft
  • Burglary
  • Fraud
  • Going Equipped to Steal
  • Handling Stolen Goods
  • Making off Without Payment
  • Robbery
  • Benefit Fraud
  • Taking a vehicle without Consent
  • Blackmail
  • Conspiracy to steal

Contact our Criminal Defence Solicitors

Why Hodge Jones & Allen?

Any conviction for a dishonesty offence can have a serious impact on your future and may put you at risk of a prison sentence. It can also have serious implications for professionals in terms of professional standards regulatory bodies and serious consequences for somebody who is employed. This means that it is important for you to have the very best representation to ensure that you have strong and dependable and well –informed legal advice.

Specialist Knowledge

Hodge Jones and Allen are vastly experienced with decades of experience and expertise in specialist areas. From the earliest stage of proceedings our 24 hour police station team is staffed by experienced and highly trained representatives.

Our case workers and advocates operate regularly in the Magistrates’ and Crown Court, as well as the Court of Appeal. We have dealt with the most serious of dishonesty offences involving large scale conspiracies to and offences involving adults and youth.

The very best expert team

As well as our own highly skilled and experienced lawyers, through 40 years, we have built up a network of working with the very best forensic experts. We instruct instruct telephone experts for cwell ite Analysis (the means of establishing the geographical location of a mobile phone when calls, SMS messages or data is sent or received) or closed circuit television (CCTV) evidence, which is commonly used in the prosecution of many dishonesty offences.

Building up the Defence case

We never forget the most important person in criminal proceedings is the client. We work with you to present your case in the most effective and persuasive way possible.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between theft, robbery and burglary?

All three offences are covered by the Theft Act 1968 and involve the dishonest taking of someone else’s money or property without their permission to use as if it was their own property. In legislation “a person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it.” This could mean someone stealing from a shop, picking someone’s pocket, stealing a bicycle or car, an employee stealing from their workplace stealing from somebody’s home or agreeing with others to steal property on a large scale. .

Robbery differs from theft in that a person will be guilty of this offence if when stealing the property in question that person uses or threatens force or violence towards immediately before or during the theft act.

Burglary is committed when a person enters a building as a trespasser with intent to steal or attempts to steal or steal from those premises. It is an offence that can also be committed where as a trespasser that person inflicts or attempts to inflict grievous bodily harm (link to assaults page) or do unlawful damage. add link to relevant pages). The offence of burglary will be aggravated if when, at the time of a burglary, the offender has with him any firearm or imitation firearm, any weapon of offence or any explosive.

How is theft from employer treated differently from other dishonesty offences?

Theft from your employer is more serious than simple theft as the offence is usually aggravated by the issue of breaching the trust of your employer.

When a person is accused of theft from employer the effect on the employee’s life can be disastrous. Just an accusation can result in the loss of the employee’s job and can also mean that the employee has to suffer an often long criminal investigation and court case. Their reputation can also be impugned and it is important that steps are taken swiftly to minimise the effects of an allegation on an individual (link to reputation management page). Also, the possibility of a custodial sentence means that the life of a person accused can be made almost unbearable until court proceedings are over. experienced and dedicated representation is required to reduce the risk of this happening.

It is important to obtain the correct legal advice at an early stage so that you have the very best chance of preventing your reputation from being tarnished (GMO note – either lose my addition above and keep this or lose this bit). HJA has vast experience in representing client’s at all ends of the spectrum, from those accused of organised thefts in the sum of millions of pounds to those simply accused of stealing from small or medium sized businesses much less sophisticated acts of alleged dishonesty

Can I go to prison for dishonesty offences?

The simple answer is yes. The sentences for offences under the Theft Act 1968 range from a financial penalty for a simple theft to life imprisonment for offences such as robbery or aggravated burglary.

Here are links to the Sentencing Council guidelines for some of the most common dishonesty offences:

  • Theft
  • Robbery
  • Burglary


View all criminal defence FAQs

Featured Client Cases

Featured Case: R v KC

Youth charged with robbery with three others. Trial in the youth court. Issues were joint enterprise and Identification. Defendant acquitted at trial. Was of previous good character at time of the offence.

Featured Case: R v JC

Defendant charged with conspiracy to commit robbery. It was alleged he disguised his car as an unmarked police car with “police blue lights”, pulled over the victim pretending to be a police officer and robbed him of a £20k Rolex watch. Prosecution offered no evidence after legal argument in the crown court.

Featured Case: R v R

Defendant was director of a charity which was alleged to have been paid over £200k in gift aid. HMRC position was funds were due back immediately. Defendant alleges the payment was subject to a legitimate agreement.

Featured Case: R v M

Conspiracy to handle stolen goods worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. Case dismissed after legal submissions.

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