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Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
In the broadest sense of the word, theft refers to the taking of someone else’s property. In Texas, this term serves as an umbrella covering any number of offenses ranging from shoplifting, bounced checks, buying property known to have been stolen, and everything in between.
Punishment for theft, from minor petty theft to the most major, grand larceny, varies depending on what was stolen, the value of the stolen goods, and the particular circumstances of the defendant’s case.
Discussing the details of your case with a Midland theft lawyer can give you a better idea as to potential avenues for defending yourself against accusations and work to preserve your reputation.
Classifications of Theft
In Texas, instances of theft are classified according to the value of the property seized from another. Using that standard, Class C misdemeanors refer to minor instances of larceny which are those items valued at $50 or less. The most serious offenses are designated as felonies and begin with property valued at $1,500 for a state felony, with the highest first-degree felony being for theft of property valued at $200,000 or more.
The many categories that fall within the range between these two include Class A and B misdemeanors, each of which falls under the $1,500 felony threshold, and second-degree, third-degree, and state felonies, which cover property valued above $20,000. A theft attorney in Midland will be able to gather all necessary evidence and assist in lessening any penalties associated with the degree of charge at hand.
When it comes to penalties associated with the commission of larceny in Texas, it is important to understand that a penalty does not only involve a reimbursement of the cost of the stolen property, but it involves paying fines and potentially serving a jail sentence as well. That being said, it is important to keep in mind that, as previously mentioned, penalties rise with the increase in the value of the property stolen.
For example, a Class C misdemeanor can carry with it fines of up to $500, whereas a felony in the first degree can carry a jail sentence ranging from as short as five years to as long as 99 years, in addition to a $10,000 fine.
In addition to the aforementioned, there are many different circumstances that, when combined with the commission of a theft, can have further adverse impacts on punishment. A theft and larceny attorney in Midland can help defend an individual while keeping a variety of factors in mind, including:
- If the accused was holding a government job at the time of the alleged commission of the crime
- Cases in which the accused has a prior theft charge on their record, which can result in a charge being upgraded one level in severity
- Cases involving theft of firearms and metals commonly stripped from homes such as copper and aluminum, regardless of their value, are automatically considered felonies
- Shoplifting may carry with it an additional charge of organized retail theft if accompanied by the use of special tools designed to usurp anti-theft measures or devices
Long Term Impacts
Negative consequences associated with theft also include having difficulty in retaining or obtaining employment, and individuals having to open themselves up to a civil lawsuit where one may be ordered to pay restitution for additional damages up to $5,000 under the Texas Theft Liability Act. With this in mind, if you have been charged with theft in Texas, contact a Midland theft lawyer review your case.