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Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
Charges such as theft are very serious matters. Depending on the circumstances, theft charges can lead to very serious punishments, including significant prison terms and fines. If you were charged with theft, seek advice from Denton theft lawyers experienced in handling criminal cases and defending the rights of the accused.
Since circumstances and the severity of consequences vary per case, it is advisable to contact a criminal lawyer for immediate assistance. You are presumed innocent until proven guilty, so the sooner you act the better your chances are to lessen the severity of your charge.
Property Value and Theft Charges
The size of the penalty for someone charged with theft is often determined, at least in part, by the value of the property that was taken.
In Texas, varying degrees of theft are determined at the following levels:
- Class C misdemeanor: $50 or less
- Class B misdemeanor: $50 or more, but less than $500
- Class A misdemeanor: $500 or more, but less than $1,500
- State jail felony: $1,500 or more, but less than $20,000
- Third degree felony: $20,000 or more, but less than $100,000
- Second degree felony: $100,000 or more, but less than $200,000
- First degree felony: $200,000 or more
The law also bars theft by deception, or using deceitful means with the intent of taking someone’s property.
What are Considered Deceptive Acts?
Deceptive acts occur when an individual or consumer is misled by another individual who promises but does not deliver a certain product or good. Sometimes a seller will make a contract to perform services for someone, but the consumer later claims that their money was taken but the bargain was not honored. This could be a standard breach of contract case, but a prosecutor might try to define it as theft through deception.
Proving Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
Never forget that all defendants are presumed innocent in U.S. courts, and the prosecutors must prove every element of their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Some of the key questions that must be raised are:
- What evidence do they have that the alleged crime was an intentional act?
- Is any of the testimony hearsay, which can be excluded from consideration?
- Were all searches conducted in accordance with the requirements of the U.S. and the state constitutions?
Proving the Defendant’s State of Mind in a Theft Charge
In most criminal cases, the state of mind of the defendant is a crucial element. The prosecutor must show that the defendant had the intent to deprive the alleged victims of their property.
Proving a person’s state of mind is more difficult than proving that some action took place. One common defense strategy is to argue that the state failed to show that the accused person acted with bad intent.
Proving Misidentification of Someone Charged with Theft
Misidentifications occur when the police arrest the wrong person. These are particularly frequent in robbery cases. In many cases, it may be possible to challenge an eyewitness identification through the use of a motion for a lineup.
Doubt may be raised in favor of the defendant if the physical description of the offender does not match the physical characteristics of the defendant. The use of expert testimony to discuss the inherent errors of eyewitness identifications can also be used to raise doubt about whether the offender was properly identified. Denton theft attorneys have experience challenging the state’s evidence and know effective ways of cross-examining identification witnesses.
Speak with a Denton Theft Attorney
If you are facing theft charges, you could benefit from seeking counsel from Denton theft lawyers. These lawyers have worked in the criminal courts for years and could aggressively and skillfully defend those facing charges. Whatever the class and severity of the charge, Denton attorneys could evaluate your situation and build evidence for your case to fight for your future and freedom. Call now to schedule a consultation.