A criminal offense involving allegations of a theft crime means that you’ve been accused of unlawfully taking possession of the property of a third-party. In Houston, these types of criminal cases are aggressively prosecuted by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. If you would like to contest the allegations, you’ll need a defense attorney.
Understanding Theft Cases in Texas
A theft offense is defined by the Texas Penal Code as any instance in which a person unlawfully appropriates property with the intent to deprive the owner of the value of said property. Theft offenses are considered crimes of moral turpitude and are perceived to reflect on the character of the accused person.
If you’re convicted of theft, robbery, or burglary, it lays the groundwork for a third-party to question the morality of the person accused; a circumstance that can have lifelong ramifications and lasting effects in the form of a criminal background for theft.
Types of Theft Crimes
Theft crimes are not limited to taking possession of physical property in a common sense but can occur in several ways with the use of technology, fraudulent documents, breaking and entering, threats and/or violence intended to force compliance with the demands of the perpetrator.
Listed below are a few examples of what may be considered a theft crime, many of which are clearly defined in the Texas Penal Code.
- Auto Theft/Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle
- Bank Fraud
- White-Collar Criminal Offenses
- Credit Card Fraud
- Forgery Cases and Embezzlement
- Internet Fraud
- Identity Theft
- Insurance & Medicare Fraud
- Accepting Stolen Property
- Possession Of Stolen Property
- Writing Bad Checks/Hot Checks a.k.a. Theft By Check
- Burglary of a Habitation
- employee/workplace theft
- Robbery/Aggravated Robbery
- Mail Fraud & Wire Fraud
- Changing Price Tags In Stores
- Theft of Service
Penalties If Convicted Of Theft In Houston, TX
There are many different factors used by the criminal justice system in the determination of the criminal consequences for a person convicted of a theft-related criminal offense in the court of law. The severities of the criminal consequences are directly related to the value of the property stolen and the nature in which the crime was perpetrated.
For example, a person who shoplifted a candy bar will be less harshly prosecuted than a person who committed a robbery at gunpoint or by using threats of violence to force the cooperation of the victim.
Listed below is a quick review of the potential criminal penalties for a person convicted of theft based solely on the value of the property.
- Below $50: Class C Misdemeanor
- $50-$500: Class B Misdemeanor
- $500-$1500: Class A Misdemeanor
- $1500-$20,000: State Jail Felony
- $20,000-$100,000: Third-Degree Felony
- $100,000-$200,000: Second-Degree Felony
- $200,000 Or More: First-Degree Felony
Additional Factors In Texas Theft Cases
As previously stated, there are a number of other factors involved when determining the manner in which a conviction will be pursued by the prosecution. Aggravated robbery, or robbery committed as a result of a threat of violence or violence, will carry stronger penalties than a non-violent burglary offense. Also, as previously stated, the value of the property stolen is also a key determining factor in how the prosecution pursues the case.
Contacting A Criminal Lawyer In Houston
If you were accused of any form of thievery in Harris County, Texas, prosecutors and police officers will spare no effort in securing a guilty conviction. If you stand charged with a theft offense in Texas, we strongly recommend contacting a licensed Texas criminal defense lawyer for prudent legal advice.