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Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
Offenses related to theft range from misdemeanor charges to first-degree felony charges. As a Fort Worth theft lawyer could explain, the criminal penalties for theft may include fines, prison sentences, and restitution. In addition to criminal penalties, a theft conviction could impact career opportunities, admission to college, and your ability to freely exercise your rights.
If you are facing theft charges, you may find contacting an experienced defense attorney helpful. An attorney can explain the potential penalties for a charge, detail relevant case law, and help you determine your options for resolving the charges against you.
Defining Misdemeanor and Felony Theft in Fort Worth
Theft can include more than just allegedly stealing an object – individuals who knowingly possess stolen goods could also be charged with theft. For example, if a pawnbroker fails to obtain a written warranty certifying a seller’s right to possess an item, the pawnbroker may be found in violation of Fort Worth law and could be charged with theft.
Furthermore, theft is broken into two classifications. How a charge is classified depends on the value of the property stolen. As Tex. Pen. Code § 31.03 details, if the total value of the stolen property is less than $2,500, theft will generally be considered a misdemeanor. If the value of stolen property exceeds $2,500, then theft could be pursued as a felony.
There also are some circumstances that can cause a theft to be charged as a higher offense level despite the value of the goods involved. The nature of property stolen may impact charges, as could the identity of the alleged victim. For example, the theft of a firearm, regardless of the value of the firearm, would result in felony charges. Taking money from an elderly person or a non-profit organization could also lead to felony charges. Those unsure how these elevating factors could impact a criminal court case may wish to discuss charges with a knowledgeable Fort Worth theft lawyer.
Civil Liability for Alleged Stealing
In addition to possible criminal charges, individuals accused of theft could face additional civil liabilities. Fort Worth courts may compel convicted individuals to repay the value of the stolen property, the cost of court fees, and additional damages to the property owner. If a minor is accused of theft, their parents could be held civilly liable.
For these reasons, individuals who face criminal charges of theft may wish to reach out and consult a dedicated Fort Worth theft attorney before deciding how to proceed. In addition to collecting evidence and defending the rights of accused parties in criminal court, a theft attorney may assist in fighting against claims of liability in civil court.
Talk to a Fort Worth Theft Attorney for Legal Advice
Even misdemeanor charges of theft are extremely serious, especially if charges are accompanied by an aggravating circumstance. Allow an experienced Fort Worth theft lawyer to assist with collecting and presenting evidence to the court.
When you are accused of a theft or any criminal offense, one of the first steps to protect yourself is to understand the charges and the potential repercussions of a conviction. Fortunately, a theft attorney in Fort Worth may be able to assess your circumstances and help you determine the most effective strategy for handling your case. Reach out today to schedule an initial consultation and learn more about theft charges in Fort Worth.