Texas law takes theft crimes very seriously, and theft can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances. Factors that determine the level of charges include the type of stolen property and the value of the stolen property.
Even misdemeanor theft crimes can have serious penalties and lasting impacts on your life, so it is important to have the representation and assistance of a Sugar Land criminal defense lawyer.
Texas Theft Charges and Penalties
Texas theft charges and penalties largely depend on the value of the property ostensibly taken without effective consent. Certain factors, such as prior criminal conduct, may enhance the penalty to an even higher level. Theft charges and penalties under Texas law are as follows:
- $100 or less: Class C misdemeanor punishable by a $500 fine and no jail time.
- $100-$750: Class B misdemeanor punishable by 180 days in jail and a fine up to $2,000.
- $750-$2,500: Class A misdemeanor punishable by one year of jail time and a fine of up to $4,000.
- $2,500-$30,000: State jail felony punishable by 6 months – two years in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
- $30,000-$150,000: Third-degree felony punishable by 2-10 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000.
- $150,000-$300,000: Second-degree felony punishable by 2-20 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000.
- $300,000 or more: First-degree felony punishable by 5 years to 99 years/life incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000.
When such fines and jail time are on the line, you need the strongest possible criminal defense.
Definition of Theft Under Texas Law
Under Texas law, theft happens when someone “unlawfully appropriates property with the intent to deprive the owner of the property.” What this basically means is one commits theft when you take something that does not belong to you, without the permission of its owner or with no justification for taking it, and you do not intend to return it to its rightful owner at the time you are taking it.
Common types of theft include:
- Grand theft
- Fraud or identity theft
Unlawful Appropriation of Property
According to Texas law, appropriation is unlawful if it is done without the owner’s “effective consent.” Appropriation is any transaction or act of transferring ownership of something from one person who owns it to another person. A good example is when you go to a mall and pay for belongings, the transfer of ownership is appropriation.
Effective consent is when the owner of something of value or someone they have authorized gives consent for someone else to have or take it. The law describes what effective consent is but also states categorically when consent is not effective, and this is when the consent is:
- Induced by deception
- Given by a person the other person knows very well is not legally authorized to act for the owner
- Given by someone who by reason of age, mental disease or defect, or intoxication is known by the other person to be unable to make sane or reasonable decisions about disposing of property
- Given solely to detect the commission of an offense; or
- Used for something other than the purpose the consent was given for
Call a Sugar Land Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been arrested and charged with a crime of theft, you can count on a Sugar Land criminal defense lawyer from Jamie Jordan, PLLC, for the best defense possible. Contact us today for a free consultation.