Top 1% of Defence Law Firms
Defended over 50,000 Cases
5 star google reviews
39+ years of experience
Obtaining property by deception is a serious theft offence that the courts in England and Wales take very seriously, not least because of the impacts that such an offence has on the public’s sense of safety in their homes and businesses. If you or someone you care about has been charged with this offence, you are undoubtedly concerned about the impacts such a conviction could have on your personal and professional life. In this article, we outline the offence of obtaining property by deception under English criminal law, give some examples of how the offence may play out in practice, and answer some of the most common questions that first-time offenders may have.
The offence of obtaining property by deception falls under Section 15 of the Theft Act 1968.
Section 15 states:
“A person who by any deception dishonestly obtains property belonging to another, with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it, shall on conviction on indictment be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years.”
In simple terms, this means that if an individual uses deception to dishonestly acquire someone else’s property with the intent of keeping it permanently, they can be charged with this offence. The maximum penalty for this offence is imprisonment for up to ten years upon conviction.
In this context, the word “deception” refers to any false representation or misleading conduct that leads to the acquisition of property. This could involve fraudulent actions, false statements, or any other form of dishonesty intended to obtain property that does not belong to the offender.
To secure a conviction, the prosecution needs to prove:
The prosecution must prove all these elements beyond a reasonable doubt for a conviction. If any of these elements is not proven, it could result in acquittal of the defendant.
What are some examples of obtaining property by deception?
Examples of this offence include:
If you are suspected of obtaining property by deception, you can expect to undergo the following:
Remember that every case is unique and the specific procedures may vary depending on the circumstances of your particular case. If you are suspected of obtaining property by deception, it is crucial to seek legal advice as soon as possible so you know your rights are protected.
The sentence for obtaining property by deception depends on the specific circumstances of the case, including the amount of property involved and the defendant’s previous criminal record. However, the maximum penalty for this offence, as outlined in Section 15 of the Theft Act 1968, is imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years.
Sentencing in the UK takes into account various factors, including the seriousness of the offence, the impact on the victim, and the defendant’s level of culpability. Judges have the discretion to impose sentences ranging from fines to community service to custodial sentences, depending on the individual case.
For less serious cases, where the value of the property obtained is relatively low and there are no aggravating factors, a defendant might receive a non-custodial sentence, such as a fine or a community order. In more serious cases, especially those involving large sums of money or a pattern of deception, a custodial sentence, which could include imprisonment, is more likely.
There are a few potential defences to a charge of obtaining property by deception:
Any defence relies heavily on evidence and on skilful articulation of the legal points. Having an experienced criminal defence solicitor on your side ensures you have a robust foundation for your defence.
Whether a first-time offender will go to prison for obtaining property by deception depends on factors like the seriousness of the case and the judge’s discretion during sentencing.
Less serious cases with smaller amounts involved may result in non-custodial sentences like fines or community service. However, for more severe cases or those with aggravating factors, imprisonment becomes more likely.
Facing any criminal charge is difficult, and if you are a first-time offender (or are being charged for the first-time), it is understandable that you should be worried about what comes next. The team at Stuart Miller Solicitors have decades of combined experience in this space and will be happy to walk you through all potential outcomes of your specific case. Contact us today for a free consultation about your options.
A legal expert will consult you within 24 hours of making an enquiry.
We will always treat you with trust, understanding and respect.
Your case will be handled by an expert who specialises in your type of offence.
We will take early action to end proceedings as soon as it is practically and legally possible to do so.
You will be kept updated on your case at all times. We will provide a named contact available to answer your questions.
We understand this is a difficult and stressful time for you and your family. Our team will support you every step of the way.
We will never give up on your case. We fight tirelessly to get you the best possible outcome.