Texas law defines the crime of theft as being when an individual “unlawfully appropriates property with the intent to deprive the owner of the property.” In other words, this means that theft is taking something without consent from the owner or without any other justification, with no intention of returning the stolen property to its owner at the time of the offense. Read on to learn more about theft charges in Texas and how to get them dropped if you ever face them.
For a detailed legal overview of theft in Texas, review
Theft: Felony or Misdemeanor?
Theft can be classified either as a misdemeanor or a felony in Texas. The difference depends on what property is stolen and the value of that property. Felony theft crimes generally deal with the stealing of property that has greater financial value than property stolen during misdemeanor theft crimes. The punishments for felonies and misdemeanors differ significantly.
- Felony Theft in Texas
Felony theft is the most consequential of all Texas thefts. Felony theft can be classified as one of four levels of charges: a state jail felony, first-degree felony, second-degree felony, or third-degree felony. Penalties for felony theft convictions depend on which level charges the crime is determined to be, but can include extensive jail time of up to 99 years and significant fines of up to $10,000.
- Misdemeanor Theft in Texas
Misdemeanor theft charges in Texas range from Class A to Class C misdemeanor charges. This categorization of theft charges is less serious than felonies. Depending on which class a theft crime is designated, a conviction could result in jail time of up to six months and/or fines of up to a fine up to $2,000.
DID YOU KNOW?
There is more than one kind of theft-related crime, including robbery and burglary. Robbery and burglary charges in Texas are defined differently and result in different penalties.
Get Texas Theft Charges Dropped
If theft charges have been levied against you in Texas, you may be able to get them dropped. Of course, the best course of action to take if you want to avoid being convicted of a theft crime by working with an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney. If you have any evidence that can help prove your innocence, such as a witness who can attest to your whereabouts during the alleged theft, you should provide it to your attorney. If you have no such evidence, your attorney might attempt to negotiate with the prosecutor to have the charges dropped in exchange for restitution payments or completion of a pretrial diversion program that may require you to complete community service or attend counseling. If none of these things work, your attorney can fight the charges in court.
If you need an attorney in Austin, Texas, or the surrounding area, you should reach out to the experienced and competent counsel at Erskine Law for help. Austin criminal defense attorney Brian Erskine is a professional, board-certified lawyer with years of experience handling a wide variety of legal cases in Texas, including those involving theft charges. If you are facing such charges, contact Brian Erskine at Erskine Law to discuss how he can help you reach the best possible outcome in your case.