In Texas, theft is the most prosecuted crime in state court, and the penalties are often much more serious than people realize. If the value of the property is high enough, you could be facing significant jail time and heavy fines. Chris Abel has a history of success acquitting his clients of theft charges and defending their rights in court.
The crime of theft is very broad in scope under Texas law. Found in Section 31.03 of the Texas Penal Code, theft occurs when “a person unlawfully appropriates property with the intent to deprive the owner of property.” Taking property is considered unlawful if it is done without the owner’s consent or if you take property knowing that it has already been stolen.
There are many different types of crimes that are considered theft under Texas law. These crimes include: shoplifting, theft by check, auto theft, burglary, robbery, receiving stolen property, carjacking, embezzlement, petty larceny, petty theft, forgery, grand larceny, and identity theft.
Theft crimes can either be labeled as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the value of the property that was allegedly stolen. The penalties for theft crimes are as follows:
Less than $50: Class C misdemeanor, fine up to $500
Between $50 and $500: Class B misdemeanor, up to 180 days in jail and/or fine up to $2,000
Between $500 and $1,500: Class A misdemeanor, up to one year in jail and/or fine up to $4,000
Between $1,500 and $20,000: State jail felony, between 180 days and two years in prison and/or fine up to $10,000
Between $20,000 and $100,000: Felony of the third degree, between two and 10 years in prison and/or fine up to $10,000
Between $100,000 and $200,000: Felony of the second degree, between two and 20 years in prison and/or fine up to $10,000
More than $200,000: Felony of the first degree, between five and 99 years in prison and/or fine up to $10,000
In addition to criminal consequences, theft crimes can also come with civil penalties. If convicted of a theft crime, you can be held liable to the victim of the theft under the Texas Theft Liability Act. Under the Act, the victim can recover actual damages caused by the theft and an additional punitive penalty up to $1,000.
If the civil suit is brought against the parents who had a duty to control and discipline a child who committed a theft, the victim can recover the actual damages caused by the theft and a punitive award up to $5,000. In addition, the victim is entitled to attorney’s fees and court costs.
A conviction for theft can result in a permanent criminal record and tarnished reputation. If you or someone that you know has been charged with a theft crime in Denton County or Tarrant County, or the surrounding area, call or contact Chris Abel for help. Mr. Abel can help protect your rights as you fight together against this criminal charge.