Legal Question in Criminal Law in Tennessee

Some family friends of mine offered me money to help them move, so i helped them for about 4 days and on the last day the refused to pay me. So after a minor altercation, they told me and my girlfriend that we were allowed to come by their house and grab a couple pieces of furniture and they informed us they would leave the door unlocked. So we go to the house, the door was left unlocked for us, and we grab the few pieces we were allowed to take and left. They cam eby my house later that day making a scene, claiming they never said that and i stole it. So i told them it must have just been a misunderstanding and i offer to go grab the furniture and load it onto their vehicle. But they drove off and come back an hour later with cops. So i was arrested for stealing something i didn't even steal. Is there anyway out of this? Cause it seems that it's just word against word. And if so then how can charges be pressed. I offered to give the items back. So i'm just wondering what i should do.

Asked on 5/09/11, 11:00 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Michael Shipman Shipman & Crim, PLC

Unfortunately many cases are prosecuted when it is one person's word against another. A classic example are charges of rape. It is almost always one individual's word against another - particular when the defense is one of consent.

This is a case where obviously credibility is key. You need to be able to display to the prosecutor, or to the jury if it ever goes to trial, that you are a more credible witness than these other individuals. It is entirely possible, particularly if they lied to the police, that they won't show up to court - but you can't rely on that. The best thing you can do is to hire an attorney. It's unclear from your question as to whether they charged you with burglary or theft, and if theft, whether it is a felony or misdemeanor charge but regardless, hire an attorney to assist you in getting to the truth. It is possible to be convicted even if it is just your word against theirs.

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Answered on 5/13/11, 9:19 am

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