Were You Charged With Being A Porch Pirate? Here's What You Need To Know

It's not just during the holidays that people buy items online and have them delivered to their homes. In many cases, they aren't home to receive the package so USPS or other carriers will leave the package on their porch or doorstep. It's possible that those packages could be stolen by what has become known as a "porch pirate".

If you were charged with being a porch pirate there are some things you need to know. Here is some information that could help you with your defense.

How They Identified You

You might be wondering how the police identified you. It is most likely that the home the package was taken from had some form of camera surveillance system watching their front door or porch. The use of modern technology and the likes of doorbell cameras are not only meant to let the homeowner know who is at their front door but to protect any packages left on the porch.

This might help you in your defense as well. For example, if you didn't take the package and they identified you by accident, this could prove it wasn't you. Some of the doorbell cameras still have fuzzy or unclear images you might be able to have your charges dismissed.

What Could The Charges Be?

You might be facing several different charges depending on the item that was taken. For example, if the item was of little value, you might be charged with a misdemeanor. This will still carry at least a fine and in some cases, jail time.

If the item is of a higher value, such as a TV, you could face a charge of grand theft. This will come with a much higher fine, the possibility of several years of jail time, and/or probation.

It is also possible that you could be charged with a federal crime simply by taking a package delivered by the USPS. It's a federal crime to steal the mail and a package on a porch might apply. This carries a serious fine into the hundred thousands of dollars depending on the judge's discretion, and several years in jail.

Can You Defend Against Charges?

You can still defend against theft charges. In order to be found guilty, it must be proven that your intent was to steal the package for your own use. It's possible a person within the household might have asked you to pick the package up and hold it for them. This could have been done without the knowledge of anyone else in the home. They could testify to that effect in court.

It could also be a case of going to the wrong house to pick up a package that you were asked to take care of. In some neighborhoods, houses look very similar and you might have mistaken the home for your friend's home, especially if you hadn't been there before.

Reach out to a criminal defense attorney to learn more.