The penalties for theft crimes in Texas vary significantly depending on the circumstances of the case. Theft may be either a misdemeanor or a felony charge. Someone convicted of a theft crime in Texas may face probation and a fine, or more serious penalties such as a lengthy prison sentence. Criminal defense attorneys work with those accused of theft crimes to ensure their legal rights are protected throughout the case. Hiring a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after an arrest is wise and may even result in a reduction or dismissal of charges.
What are the penalties for theft in Texas?
The various penalties for theft vary depending on the value of the item stolen. Shoplifting a single t-shirt is treated much differently than stealing a rare antique. If multiple items are stolen in a single event, the value of each stolen item is combined.
If the value of the stolen item is less than $100, a conviction may result in a fine of up to $500. Such a conviction is a class C misdemeanor.
If the value of the stolen property is more than $100 but is under $750 the crime is a class B misdemeanor. Those convicted of this crime may spend up to 180 days in jail and may be ordered to pay a fine of up to $2,000.
If the value of the property is between $750 and $2,500, the crime is a class A misdemeanor. Those convicted face up to a year in jail and also a fine of up to $4,000.
Once the value of the item exceeds $2,500, the crime is a felony. Someone convicted of theft for property valued between $2,500 and $30,000 may face between 180 days and 2 years in prison. A fine of up to $10,000 may also be ordered.
A third degree felony is committed if the property’s value is between $30,000 and $150,000. Those convicted face between 2 and 10 years in prison, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
If the property is valued between $150,000 and $300,000, the crime is a second degree felony punishable by between 2 and 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
If the stolen property exceeds $300,000 in value, the crime is a first degree felony. Those convicted face between 5 and 99 years in prison, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
These penalties may be enhanced if someone has been convicted of theft in the past or if other conditions, such as the use of a deadly weapon during the crime, are present.
Defenses to theft crimes
In many theft cases, there are defenses that may be raised.
The state must prove that the defendant had the intent to steal the property, for example. In all types of theft crimes, it must be proven that the defendant had the intent to permanently deprive the victim of the use of that property. If the defendant mistakenly thought the property was his, this may be a valid defense.
Returning the property may also result in a reduction or dismissal or charges.
Make sure your legal rights are protected
If you have been accused of a theft crime, you need to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. At the Hampton Eppes Law Group we are experienced in both misdemeanor and felony theft charges. To schedule your free consultation with our firm, call 817-877-5200 or visit www.hamptonlegalgroup.com.