What are Theft Laws in Texas and Common Theft Charges?
At the Denton County criminal defense law firm of Michael Crowder Law, P.L.L.C. Denton County criminal defense attorney Michael Crowder is also a former police officer. Thus, he understands the deep frustration, worry and chaos a theft charge can cause you and your family. Our lawyers bring to the table first-hand insights into the tactics law enforcement may use to convict you of theft. Whether you have been charged with shoplifting or armed robbery, seeking legal help as soon as possible following charges of a theft crime is vital. You need to protect your reputation, financial security and future.
Speak with a Denton County criminal defense attorney at our law firm today for a free consultation. We can discuss strategies for your defense against theft charges in Texas. We have successfully fought for those facing felony and misdemeanor theft charges across DFW, from Grand Prairie to Farmers Branch.
What are Common Types of Theft Charges in Texas?
Texas theft charges cover a wide range of criminal activity ranging from petty theft to armed robbery. The basis of most theft charges in level of intent. Consequently, our Denton County criminal defense lawyer can help you avoid self-incrimination if you talk to us before talking to the police. Whether your theft charge is considered a misdemeanor or felony theft, you should seek legal help immediately. Our Denton County criminal defense lawyers fight all types of theft and burglary charges involving:
- Check fraud/theft by check charges. If you paid for an item using a bad check on a closed account or an account with insufficient funds, you may be committing check fraud. If you were unaware of the inadequate funds in your account at the time of payment, Texas law allows you ten days to cover the bounced check. Then, if you do not pay it within the ten-day period, you may face a check fraud charge.
- Shoplifting charges. This charge applies if you intentionally took an item from a store without payment or with only partial payment. Switching stickers on produce at the grocery store to pay a lower price is also a form of shoplifting.
- Employee theft. White collar crimes, such as embezzlement and any other intentional stealing of an employer’s merchandise, funds or property, are forms of employee theft crimes.
- Credit card abuse. Identity theft charges occur when someone, other than its owner, and without permission, uses a debit or credit card. You do not have to be in physical possession of the debit or credit card in question. This is true as internet-based identity theft continues to rise.
- Armed robbery/robbery charges. Texas robbery laws define robbery as committing an intentional theft and then recklessly causing physical endangerment or threatening bodily harm. If the defendant used a weapon as either a threat or to impose real physical injury, this could elevate the robbery charge to armed robbery.
- Burglary charges. If there is proof that the defendant trespassed on another person’s property or vehicle without permission with the intent of carrying out a theft, assault or another type of felony-level crime, this may result in a burglary charge. An individual can be charged with burglary whether he or she follows through on the criminal act. Robbery and burglary charges are always prosecuted as felonies, regardless of the stolen item value.
- Misdemeanor theft or petty theft. This charge refers to when an individual takes property or services without the owner’s permission and with the intent to deprive the owner of said property permanently. Typically, misdemeanor theft refers to stolen property totaling under $1,500 in value.
- Felony theft charges. Texas theft laws define felony theft as someone who intentionally steals property or services with a total value of more than $1,500. Credit card abuse and identity theft are felony theft no matter the amount allegedly stolen.
What is the Punishment for Theft in Texas?
The value of stolen items partly influences the consequences of a theft conviction in Texas. If the amount is high enough, then you could face felony theft charges. For less serious theft crimes, you may have options available to avoid jail time and a criminal record, especially if you are a first-time offender. The penalties for misdemeanor and felony theft charges in Texas include:
- Misdemeanor theft charges, such as shoplifting: face up to one year jail time and/or $4,000 in fines.
- Felony theft charges, such as an armed robbery charge: face up to 99 years jail time and/or $10,000 in fines.
In addition to fines and possible jail time, a theft conviction can prevent you from getting certain licenses or positions of trust. Theft charges may also cost you future employment opportunities, security clearances, and good housing options.
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney for Theft Near Dallas
Our Denton County criminal defense lawyers have had a great deal of success protecting clients from the worst consequences of a criminal arrest. To help guard your future after a theft charge, then speak with a Denton County criminal defense attorney. Call (940) 202-8304 to schedule an initial free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your options.