A theft conviction can result in fines, incarceration, and a permanent criminal record. In addition to the potential criminal penalties, a theft conviction may prevent you from working in specific fields or pursuing certain professional licenses.

If you are facing theft charges, avoiding or mitigating these severe consequences may require the assistance of a Richardson theft lawyer. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney could fully explain the collateral effects of a theft conviction, which may impact how you ultimately choose to handle the matter.

Arrests and Police Questioning

After an arrest on theft charges, it is natural to be worried, intimidated, and uncertain about what to do first. While every case is different, individuals facing larceny charges should take steps to protect and preserve their rights.

While it may be tempting for individuals accused of such to try to explain their actions to law enforcement during questioning, it is almost always best to refrain from making any statements. Politely refusing to discuss criminal charges with anyone other than a Richardson theft attorney is typically the best move in these situations.

Defining Theft

Texas Penal Code §31.03 covers all types of theft, including but not limited to shoplifting, embezzlement, extortion, and receiving stolen property. According to this state, theft occurs whenever an individual appropriates property that belongs to another person without their consent. Persons also commit theft when they appropriate property that they know is stolen or that a law enforcement agency has represented as stolen.

Theft can be a misdemeanor or felony under Texas law, depending primarily on the value of the goods or items allegedly stolen. Generally, if the items are worth less than $2,500, the criminal charge is a misdemeanor. If the items are worth more than $2,500, theft allegations can result in a felony charge.

Other specific circumstances may increase the level of a theft offense. For instance, if an individual was serving as a public servant when they allegedly stole property, then any theft charge they face would increase in severity by one level.

Furthermore, the type of property involved may affect the level of the charge in some cases. For example, if an individual illegally takes a firearm, they would face state jail felony charges no matter how much the firearm is worth. A theft lawyer in Richardson could explain the potential penalties associated with those charges.

Possible Penalties in Richardson

The penalties for a theft conviction depend the class or degree of the offense. Based on the criteria mentioned previously, theft charges are divided into Class A, B, and C misdemeanor charges and four levels of felony charges.

A Class C misdemeanor theft conviction carries a fine of up to $500 but no other penalties. On the other end of the spectrum, a first-degree theft conviction can result in a prison sentence ranging from five to 99 years in length, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.

Put Up a Strong Defense with a Richardson Theft Attorney

Having a theft conviction on your permanent criminal record can adversely affect you when applying for jobs or higher education, or even when you attempt to rent a home or apartment. As such, the services of a Richardson theft lawyer may be invaluable to you if you find yourself facing such allegations.

While theft charges may seem overwhelming, certain defensive strategies may help your case. By engaging with legal counsel quickly, you may be more likely to reach a swift and favorable resolution to your theft charges. Call today to get started on your case.