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Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
Facing a criminal charge such as theft is very serious business. Your freedom is hanging in the balance. You cannot just talk to an attorney who has done routine work in the past. You need advice from Odessa theft lawyers with experience in criminal cases and who know how to win these high-stakes battles.
Theft is usually defined as the unlawful taking of the personal property of another person or business. Robbery is usually charged when the theft is accomplished by force or the threat of force. Depending on the circumstances, theft charges can lead to very serious penalties, including substantial time behind bars. Work with a determined criminal defense attorney that will be relentless in their defense of you.
Felony vs. Misdemeanor
The greater the value of the property that was taken, the bigger the penalty.
- Less than $100: Class C misdemeanor unless you have a prior theft conviction
- $199-$750: Class B misdemeanor
- $750-$3000: Class A misdemeanor
- $3000-$25,000: State jail felony
The law also bars theft by deception which is using deceitful means with the intent of taking someone’s property. Sometimes a person will make a contract to perform services for another individual, who later says that his 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 via deceitful means.
Proving Intent in Theft Cases
As 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 victims of their property. Proving a person’s state of mind can be much harder than proving that some action took place. So one frequently successful defense strategy is to argue that the state has failed to show that the accused person acted with bad intent.
Misidentifications or, arresting the wrong person, occurs all the time, and they 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, based on differences in the description given and the physical characteristics of the defendant arrested, or even through the use of expert testimony on the many problems inherent in eyewitness identifications. An Odessa theft attorney may have experience challenging the state’s evidence and might know the most effective ways of cross-examining identification witnesses.
Presumption of Innocence
Defending against criminal charges can be scary, but remember that all criminal defendants are presumed innocent in U.S. courts, and (B) 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?
Contact an Odessa Theft Attorney Today
If you are facing criminal charges for theft, you owe it to yourself and your family to seek out advice from Odessa theft lawyers who have worked in the criminal courts for years, and who knows how to work aggressively to defend their clients. The stakes could not be higher. Do not wait another day before getting that advice.