THEY SAY I STOLE SOMETHING. WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
The definition of theft under the Texas Penal Code is taking someone's property without consent, either by deception or by physically stealing it. You do not have to keep the property for it to be considered theft, you only have to have it long enough to deprive the owner of its value. If you take something and then return it for a reward, that is also considered theft under Texas laws. Theft in Texas ranges from a bounced check, to shoplifting, to purchasing stolen property and everything in between. The punishment for theft in Texas generally depends on the value of the item stolen and can go from a fine to prison time.
Being convicted of theft in Texas can make your life difficult, including ruining your chances at getting a job. Because of this it is very important that you hire a criminal lawyer with years of experience handling these types of cases to help you understand your situation.
There are several common types of theft in Texas. The first is shoplifting or taking items of out of a store with the deliberate intention of not paying the full value for those items. Second there is writing bad checks or paying for an item on an account that has insufficient funds to cover the purchase or an account that is closed. Writing a check on a closed account or writing a bad check and not paying the merchant within ten (10) days of notification are both considered evidence that you intended to steal under Texas law. Buying or accepting stolen property is another type of theft in Texas. If you take possession of something when you know the person you are getting it from is not the rightful owner, you can be charged with Theft. There is also general theft which is taking something that belongs to someone else by any means when you do not have permission. A lesser known offense is theft of services, like from a restaurant or hotel.
When you are arrested for theft in Texas, the punishment will vary depending on the value of what you are accused of stealing. The more valuable the item or service, the higher the penalty will be.
PENALTIES FOR THEFT IN TEXAS
Less than $100
• Class C misdemeanor
• A fine of not more than $500
$100 or more but less than $750
• Class B misdemeanor
• Not more than 180 days in a county jail and/or a fine of not more than $2,000
$750 or more but less than $2,500
• Class A misdemeanor
• Not more than 1 year in a county jail and/or a fine of not more than $4,000
$2,500 or more but less than $30,000
• Third-degree felony
• 180 days to 2 years in a state jail and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
$150,000 or more but less than $300,000
• State jail felony
• 2 to 10 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
$100,000 or more but less than $200,000
• Second-degree felony
• 2 to 20 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
$300,000 or more
• First-degree felony
• 5 to 99 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000
Punishment in Texas theft cases can be enhanced, or increased, for a variety of reasons. It can be enhanced if you have previous convictions, if you are charged with stealing a firearm or other items, if they allege you were involved in an organized theft ring, or for other reasons. There are also civil penalties for certain theft crimes. If you are convicted of theft in Texas you may have to pay restitution, or pay back the person you stole from. The victim may also be able to sue you for damages.
IT IS IN YOUR INTEREST TO HAVE REPRESENTATION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
Call Brian Kennedy Law to discuss your case and find out your options. The confidential consultation is free. Early contact often means that we are able to find out what is going on with the investigation before things get too far down the road. Because there are so many possibilities and the repercussions can be so terrible, it is very important that you contact our firm right away so that we can begin building your defense to help you fight your theft charge.