How can I be charged with theft of a motorcycle when I only moved it for someone else?

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How can I be charged with theft of a motorcycle when I only moved it for someone else?

If a motorcycle and trailer that was stolen prior to my knowledge that I then moved for the person that stole the items, who was later charged with the theft and sentenced to 4 years. After this I was arrested and charged with theft over $20,000even though the person that was charged with this crime originally stated in court that I had no knowledge of the bike being stolen and was only acting on his request. What would be my best defense on this charge? Do I need to speak with a criminal law attorney? I am currently in Waco, TX.

Asked on October 28, 2011 under Criminal Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

To be convicted of a crime requires criminal intent: you have to know that you had no right to do what you did, and acting when you think you had a right to do what you did generally is not a crime. Not that willful blindness is not a defense, nor is a subjective view of your right to do something which no one else would share--your frame of mind or intent must be non-criminal as judged by the average reasonable person.

If you can show that you did not have criminal intent when you moved that motorcycle and trailer, that should provide a good defense; it is very likely, however, that the authorities believe you *did* or *should have* known they were stolen, and further likely believe that they can prove this.

You should consult with a criminal defense attorney immediately--you are facing, if convicted, potentially years in jail for a felony conviction. Do not speak to the authorities about the situation (exercise your constitutional right against self-incrimination, called  the right to silence) until you speak with your lawyer.


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