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Accused of dorm room theft? Plan a defense quickly

Living in a dorm isn't the easiest thing to do, but it is a good college experience to have. One aspect of dorm life that takes some getting used to is having to live in the same room as a stranger or not your first choice for a roommate even if you do know your roommate.

As is the case with any new living arrangements, there is going to be a learning curve. It is imperative that you and your roomie establish clear guidelines about using each other's stuff. Remember to respect anything that you use and be sure to return it. While it might seem far-fetched, you can be accused of theft if you borrow items and don't return them.

Your intent is important

You can't accidentally steal something. In most cases, simply returning the item you borrowed can put an end to the situation, especially if you apologize to your roommate. To obtain a conviction for theft, the prosecution would have to prove that you intentionally stole the item. This might not be possible if you neglected to return it.

To prove intent, the prosecutor would need to show that you didn't intend to return the item. The burden of proof is on the prosecutor, so establishing your case can mean that you aren't able to be convicted. This might involve having to look at the circumstances and build your defense strategy around them.

Extenuating circumstances

If your roomie hasn't asked for the item back, it might be hard for the prosecutors to successfully convict you. It is unlikely that a person you live with would file a police report for theft if they know that you have the item. However, they might have forgotten that you borrowed it and contacted police when they realized it was missing. This misunderstanding might have an easy resolution. The issue that could cause problems is if the person repeatedly asked for the item back and you never returned it or acknowledged the request.

Being accused of theft in your dorm is a serious matter. Explore your defense options quickly so that you can get your strategy planned before your case moves forward.

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