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Theft Law, Penalties, & Common Defenses in Texas

Theft, historically called larceny, can take on several forms. The most common act of theft involves a person stealing an item with no intention of returning it to the owner. However, other forms of theft include purchasing an item that you know to be stolen, theft by check if you write a check knowing there are insufficient funds in the account, or refusing to pay for services such as food at a restaurant or automobile service. Any of these actions may result in criminal charges. If you are facing theft charges for any reason, a quality criminal defense is essential to minimize sentencing or perhaps have the case dismissed altogether.

When it comes to theft, the severity of sentencing and other consequences increase with the value of the items stolen. Criminal charges can range from a Class-C Misdemeanor to a First-Degree Felony. Below you will see how Texas Law determines the categories of theft:

Class C Misdemeanor

Theft of items worth less than $100 will be charged as a Class-C Misdemeanor. Ramifications do not include jail time but may result in a fine up to $500.

Class B Misdemeanor

If the value of the stolen property is between $100 and $750, a Class B Misdemeanor is punishable with up to 180 days in jail and a fine up to $2,000.

Class A Misdemeanor

If the value of the stolen property is between $750 and $2500, a Class A Misdemeanor is punishable with up to one year in jail and a fine up to $2,000.

State Jail Felony

If the value of the stolen property is between $2500 and $30,000, a State Jail Felony is punishable by 180 days to two years in a state jail facility and a fine up to $10,000.

Third Degree Felony

If the value of the stolen property is between $30,000 and $150,000, a Third Degree Felony is punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

Second Degree Felony

If the value of the stolen property is between $150,000 and $300,000, a Second Degree Felony is punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

First Degree Felony

If the value of the stolen property is $300,000 or more, aFirst Degree Felony is punishable by 5 years to 99 years or life in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

A Texas defense attorney can help you navigate this case and investigate the validity of the charges you face. Regardless of which category or form of theft, they each require proof of a conscious intent to steal. To be convicted of theft, a person must understand the character or ownership of the property and have an objective to deprive the owner. Thus, defendanding theft allegations often involves establishing the defendant’s awareness about the character of the property, the source of the property or the value of the property.

A skilled lawyer should always investigate the actual value of the items stolen. Prosecutors and police may use faulty standards to evaluate how much an item is worth, and a defense attorney can argue those claims in court. If the difference in the value of the property stolen is significant, the result could be a considerable reduction in the charges.

Contact Attorney Kenneth Biggs today to schedule your professional legal consultation.

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