A theft conviction can have severe consequences, including fines, a potential jail sentence, and a permanent criminal record that may impede job opportunities in the future. If you are facing charges, consider allowing a Tarrant County theft lawyer to represent your interests.
Experienced and aggressive representation can be crucial when you are facing accusations of theft. Building a strong defense against such charges may be an essential step in preserving your reputation in the community and safeguarding your future. A criminal defense attorney may be able to assess your case and fight on your behalf for a positive outcome.
Under Texas Penal Code §31.03, theft occurs when a person illegally takes possession of property with the intent of depriving the owner of the benefit or use of the property. Theft can occur in any of the following situations:
- Taking property without the consent of the owners or someone legally authorized to consent on their behalf
- Receiving items with the knowledge that the items are stolen
- Taking property that is in the custody of a law enforcement agency, which a law enforcement agent represented as stolen property and the actors believed was stolen property
Theft has a broad definition under Texas law, and the Texas Penal Code addresses various types of theft offenses, including shoplifting and embezzlement from employers. Since any level of theft can have serious repercussions, contacting a Tarrant County theft attorney may be advisable.
Levels of Theft Charges in Tarrant County
Theft offenses can be misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the circumstances. The major determinative factor is the value of the items stolen. Generally, if the items are worth less than $2,500, the offense is a misdemeanor, and if they are worth $2,500 or more, the offense is a felony, although there are a few exceptions to these rules.
Misdemeanors fall into three categories: Class A, B, and C. Class A misdemeanors are the highest level of misdemeanor offenses with the harshest punishments, including up to one year in jail and up to $4,000 in fines. Class B misdemeanors carry the potential for up to 180 days in jail and $2,000 in fines, and Class C misdemeanors are punishable by fines only.
Texas law has five levels of felony charge: state jail felonies; third, second, and first-degree felonies; and capital felonies. Penalties for felony theft offenses can include lengthy prison terms and thousands of dollars in fines. Again, the value of the items stolen largely determines the level of the felony charged, but in some cases, the circumstances surrounding the offense or the type of items stolen can impact the severity of the ensuing criminal charge.
Theft typically becomes a felony offense when the stolen goods or property are worth $2,500 or more. However, when persons take certain types of property, the offense automatically becomes a felony, regardless of the value of the property. For instance, it is a felony offense if the theft involves:
- A firearm
- Any items stolen from a grave
- An official ballot or carrier envelope for an election
- A controlled substance, if taken from a commercial building or distribution vehicle
Additionally, if the accused individuals have two or more prior theft convictions of any grade, they are subject to felony theft charges, even if the property stolen is worth less than $2,500.
Individuals with felony convictions cannot possess firearms and lose other civil rights, such as the ability to vote. To effectively fight back against felony theft charges, consulting a theft lawyer in Tarrant County may be beneficial.
Call a Tarrant County Theft Attorney for Advice
Your future success, both personally and professionally, can depend a great deal on your reputation. If a background check shows that you have a theft conviction, you risk being unable to achieve your goals. A Tarrant County theft lawyer may be able to fight for a swift resolution to your case that keeps your record clean.
Although theft charges initially may seem insurmountable, many defenses may apply in your theft case. Call today to discuss your situation with a qualified attorney.