Posted on 1/17/22

More people than ever have been ordering their Christmas presents, household supplies, and more through Amazon and other companies that deliver. Apps like Instacart make it easy for people to order groceries and other big-box purchases on the app and have them delivered at home. Commonly called “porch pirating,” the practice of stealing other people’s packages from their porch has become common, as well. 

Package Theft in Texas

Beginning September 1st of 2019, Texas made the penalties for stealing packages from another person’s porch a lot tougher. The law makes it a felony charge to steal anything considered mail. Mail includes letters, postcards, packages dropped off at the front porch, and any other sealed items. When a person has been convicted of stealing from more than 50 people, they will face first-degree felony charges. Stealing from 20 to 50 people is considered a second-degree felony charge. Stealing from 10 to 50 people is considered a third-degree felony. Finally, stealing from less than ten people is considered a state felony. 

Depending on how many people a defendant has allegedly stolen from, a defendant can face anywhere between six months and up to 10 years in prison if convicted. The defendant will also have to deal with hefty fines ranging from $4,000 to $10,000. When the victim is disabled, elderly, or the crime involves identity theft, the charges and penalties can be enhanced. 

Criminal Charges Can be Based on Value

The penalties for stealing packages from a person’s porch can be increased as the value of the stolen property increases. For example, a person can be charged with a third-degree felony for stealing 15 packages but end up facing additional criminal charges due to the value of the packages. When a defendant steals property valued at $100, they can face Class C misdemeanor charges that add fines of up to $500. 

When a person steals a package valued at $300,000 or more, they can face first-degree felony charges that result in up to 99 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. As you can see, even if a person only steals from two people but steals high-value property, the penalties can be increased.  

Discuss Your Case With a Dallas/Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorney

In Texas, stealing packages from someone else’s porch is not a joke. It may not seem like a severe crime to you, but you could be facing years in jail if you are caught. More people than ever are installing video doorbells, such as Nest and Ring devices. 

Prosecutors often use video evidence from these types of video doorbells to convict defendants of stealing packages from people’s porches. If you have been charged with stealing packages, it is important that you hire an attorney as soon as possible. Contact Abel Law Firm today to schedule your initial consultation. 

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