In Texas, theft is defined broadly, its scope including offenses from buying stolen cars to shoplifting. In general, specific offenses (like class a misdemeanor Texas) are determined based upon the value of the stolen goods. In some cases, the punishment can be as inconsequential as a fine or as severe as prison time.
To successfully be charged with theft, officers must show that you acted with criminal intent and that you had or have possession of the stolen property. In this case, criminal intent is established if you knew the property belonged to someone else and had no permission to take it.
Varying Theft Charges
Typically, class a misdemeanor Texas theft charges fall into the following categories.
- Bad Checks. Paying for an item using an account that doesn’t have the funds to cover the cost or a closed account. Formerly, after the check bounces, theft is established if you fail to reimburse the merchant within ten days of notification. Latterly, if the check is written on a closed account, that alone establishes theft.
- General Theft. Encompassing stealing any item that belongs to another without permission. For example, taking copper wire from a construction site & pick-pocketing phones.
- Buying/Accepting Stolen Property. Meaning you knowingly took possession of stolen goods. For example, if you take possession of stolen goods, whether it is a gift or not, you are committing theft yourself.
- Shoplifting. When you deliberately leave a store with items you have no intention of paying for, you are shoplifting. For example, switching product price tags with a lesser price tag & paying for the item using the lesser price tag (as well as pocketing unpaid items) constitutes shoplifting.
- Robbery. Any theft using violence, intimidation, or threats to steal property, items, or money. Additionally, you can commit armed robbery if a knife, gun, or any other kind of weapon is used during the theft. Generally, these thefts carry a heavier penalty than class a misdemeanor Texas.
- Car Theft. Accordingly, you will either be charged with car theft or attempting car theft. For example, if you are caught in the midst of the carjack, you will be charged with the lesser offense, attempting car theft.
Commonly, theft charges are accompanied with a burglary of habitat offense when the stolen items come from a residence you had no permission to be.
Penalties for Theft Offenses
Bear in mind: the following punishments are enhanced under specific circumstances. For example, if previous theft convictions appear on your record, a Class B & C upgrade an offense level and a Class A misdemeanor Texas upgrades to a state felony with two theft convictions present on your record.
Additionally, theft of specific items is always a felony, without exception, including copper, aluminum, and firearms.
Furthermore, shoplifting charges are enhanced if you are caught using tools to circumvent theft prevention devices. Additionally, if you are suspected of working in a group, the charge will upgrade to Organized Retail Theft. Also, if convicted of shoplifting, you may face civil penalties brought on the victim (be it an individual or corporation).
The following are the offense classifications determined by stolen good dollar amount:
- $50 or more but less than $500, or $20 or more but less than $500 if by check. Deemed a Class B misdemeanor and a penalty no more than 180 days in county jail &/or a fine to not exceed $2K.
- $500 or more but less than $1500. Deemed a Class A misdemeanor and a penalty of no more than 1 year in county jail &/or a fine to not exceed $10K.
- $1500 or more but less than $20K. Deemed a state felony and a penalty of 180 days to 2 years state prison &/or a fine not to exceed $10K.
- $20K or more but less than $100K. Deemed a third-degree felony and a penalty of 2 to 10 years in state prison &/or a fine not to exceed $10K.
- $100k or more but less than $200K. Deemed a second-degree felony and a penalty of 2 to 20 years in state prison &/or a fine not to exceed $10K.
- $200K or more. Deemed a first-degree felony and a penalty of 5 to 99 years in state prison &/or a fine not to exceed $10K.
Whether you’ve been charged with car theft or armed robbery, retain representation immediately. Our criminal defense lawyers will seek to have charges dropped or reduced and argue for deferred adjudication. Contact us for a free consultation. We’ll ease your mind & strategize a defense; we’re here to help.
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