Q: Can you be charged with theft if you find a cell phone outside a gastation
Found a phone outside a gastation later that night cop came and got phone now im being charged with theft
A: Yes. When facing a theft charge, be sure to get help from a criminal defense attorney. Keeping a theft conviction off of public records is valuable.
Surprisingly, yes you can. As a general rule: if you find a tangible object anywhere (public or private) and you know that object does not belong to you and you take it with the intent of keeping it, thereby depriving the rightful owner of their property, that is prima facie theft. It does not matter where you found it or under what circumstances; all that matters is that you knew it did not belong to you and you took it anyways. I had a client once charged with theft for taking expensive golf clubs that were propped up against a garbage bin outside of a furniture store. That client truly thought that someone was throwing them away and took them, and he was later charged with felony theft.
Now, if you had the same cell phone as the one that was left outside of the gas station, and you took it because you believed it was yours, then you could argue it was an innocent mistake or accident. Beyond that, the elements of theft are pretty simple: if you take something that you know is not yours—no matter where or under what circumstances—you can be charged with theft. It does not mean you will necessarily be convicted of theft, but you can absolutely be charged.
Best of luck!
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