Criminal Defence Lawyers for Theft and Dishonesty Offences

If you face a charge of theft or dishonesty, you will most likely be concerned about the potential consequences and are looking for the best legal advice available. At Draycott Browne, we understand this only too well, and can offer specialist advice to defend your position with the aim of securing you the best available outcome.

During our 20 years of experience representing businesses and individuals, we have built a reputation for our formidable defence strategies and excellent outcomes. Allegations of theft or dishonesty can have serious repercussions for you, both personally and professionally, and we will work tirelessly on your behalf to build the best defence case available to you. 

What are dishonesty charges?

Dishonesty underpins a wide range of criminal offences, from small scale, petty theft up to large scale corporate fraud. Offences that fall under the umbrella of dishonesty include:

Most types of theft and dishonesty offences are covered by two separate pieces of legislation, the Theft Act 1968, and the Fraud Act 2006. To be convicted of fraud, you must be found to have acted in a dishonest way. The offence of fraud was clearly defined by the Fraud Act 2006, coming into force in 2007; it sets out that fraud is committed if a person makes a statement that is misleading or untrue, or equally when they say nothing at a time where they had a legal duty to say something, usually with the intention of gaining or obtaining property or money. Abusing a position of trust can also be fraudulent. 


Theft is committed when a person “dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another, with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it.” This can typically include charges such as burglary, shoplifting or car theft. If a theft is deemed to have been “aggravated” or committed in such a way that makes it more serious, such as that it involves threat or force against a person or property, then the potential penalties become more severe.


There is a legal test to determine whether dishonesty applies to a given situation. A jury may be asked to consider: 

  1. What your actual state of knowledge or belief was at the time that the alleged offence took place 
  2. Whether your conduct was dishonest by the standards of an ordinary, decent person.

Robbery is one of the most serious dishonesty offences, as it is a crime of theft but accompanied with violence. Any factors that contributed to your actions should be considered, and any mitigating factors fully explored before reaching a conclusion; Draycott Browne’s expert theft and dishonesty lawyers can offer help and advice on the full range of dishonesty offences, offering pragmatic guidance based on the case against you. 

What happens during an investigation into dishonesty or theft charges? 

If you are suspected of committing a crime of theft or dishonesty, the police may obtain a warrant to search your premises for anything that might be evidential to a case against you. It is crucial that if a warrant is taken out for this purpose that it is used in accordance with the correct procedure; if this is not the case it may be possible to challenge the warrant and any evidence gained unlawfully in this way may not be admissible legally.

Anyone who is suspected of being involved with the allegations may also be interviewed by the police – where this is the case they are always entitled to legal representation if arrested or questioned. At Draycott Browne we strongly advocate seeking advice and representation immediately – one of our legal experts will be able to offer advice, reassurance and practical guidance on how to approach the interview.

What are the penalties for charges of theft or dishonesty?

If an allegation of theft or dishonestly is progressed to the point that court proceedings arise, it can take up to a year for the case to be heard – this can be stressful and frustrating, so it is helpful if you have a solicitor on your side to make sure that you are fully updated as to any developments. 
If a case is relatively simple, or at the less serious end of the spectrum it can usually be dealt with by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service. For anything more complex or on a larger scale, other organisations may be involved, depending on the nature of the crime. These can include the Serious Fraud Office, HMRC, the National Crime Agency, local authorities or private prosecutors. It is not unusual for crimes of dishonesty to overlap with other related offences, such as bribery, corruption or money laundering. Where these are involved or upheld they will usually have a negative impact on the severity of any penalty and may worsen the outlook of your case. 
The range of crimes that fall under the category of theft and dishonesty is quite broad, and obviously the penalties that are likely to be imposed vary depending on the severity of the charge. At the lower end of the spectrum, sentences might involve a fine or a community or compensation order. Theft tends to carry a lower sentence than aggravated theft and other dishonesty charges. If a vehicle has been stolen, in addition to any other penalties it is possible that a disqualification from driving may also be applied. Where the crime committed is more serious, a custodial sentence might be imposed, which might be up to 10 years, depending on the severity of the crime. 

How can Draycott Browne help you? 

Draycott Browne have an extremely skilled team of Theft and Dishonesty Solicitors who can be relied upon to ask the right questions to ensure that they get straight to the heart of the matter. We will look for any evidence or corroboration to support your case, and assess the validity of any evidence against you, and will also work to establish whether there is any reasonable legal basis to dispute the allegations against you. No matter what the situation or the circumstances, we will make sure that we have the full picture and will advise you as to where you stand.

If you are accused of a crime relating to theft or dishonesty, we always recommend seeking legal advice as soon as you hear about the allegations against you. The earlier that we are involved, the sooner we can start the work of protecting your legal rights, from the initial interview, and giving you the best possible chance of a positive outcome. 

Draycott Browne offer round the clock advice and assistance; if you are facing charges of theft or dishonesty you cannot afford to compromise. Speak to us as soon as possible for a free initial consultation - you will soon see why we are one of the most respected criminal defence solicitors in the UK and we will do everything we can to guide you smoothly through the process from start to finish. 

Contact us

If you or someone you know has been accused of burglary or theft, speak to one of our specialist Theft and Dishonesty Solicitors today. Call us on +44 (0)161 228 2244 or request a callback by filling in our contact form.

The legal team at Draycott Browne has a formidable reputation across the industry and will do everything possible to help you, whatever your situation. We will provide you with a clear understanding of your situation and its implications and take pride in our supportive approach. We realise that this can be a stressful and distressing time for many of our clients and you will be treated with understanding, empathy and respect throughout.

By entrusting your case to Draycott Brown, one of the UK's leading criminal defence law firms, you can be assured that you will be working with a team of skilled legal experts who have a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of all aspects of criminal law.

Our team of experienced criminal defence solicitors offer their services within Manchester and throughout North West England. If you are due to attend the magistrates’ court and want quality legal representation to help you through the difficult time ahead, call our expert criminal law solicitors today on +44 (0)161 266 7080 or complete our contact form.

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