Theft is usually a broad charge and it includes different offences that go from shoplifting to lancer, bouncing checks and buying stolen items. The punishments for theft in Houston, Texas depend on the value of the items, which can be a mere fine to a serious punishment in form of prison time when the case is extreme.
In the Texas penal code, theft is taking someone else’s property without their consent either by physically stealing it or by deception. You do not need to keep that property in order for it to be theft, as long as you have it long enough to deprive the owner of the value. It is also theft when you take something from someone only to return it for a reward.
In order to be charged with theft, the police will have to show that you actually had criminal intention. This means that they have to prove that you were aware that property belonged to another person and that you did not have their permission to take it. They also need to show that you actually did have the property in your possession. They can use a surveillance camera video as evidence or statements by witnesses, accomplices or even you.
Different Types Of Theft
· Shoplifting – This is classified as taking items from a store with deliberate intent not to pay for them.
· General theft – This is when you take anything that does not belong to you without permission.
· Bad checks – This is when you pay for things on a closed account or one without enough money to cover that amount.
· Buying or accepting stolen items – Agreeing to take items from someone when you very well know they are not the rightful owner.
Penalties For Theft In Texas
Class C misdemeanor
· When you steal an item worth less than $100 or less than $20 by check, it is a Class C misdemeanor. You face a fine not exceeding $500.
Class B misdemeanor
· When you steal items worth more than $50 but less than $500 or more than $20 and less than $500 by check. You will face either a fine not exceeding $2,000 or up to 180 days in a county jail or both.
Class A misdemeanor
· When you steal items worth $500 to $1,500. You will face up to a year in a county jail or a fine of up to $4,000 or both.
State jail felony
· When you steal items worth anywhere from $1,500 to $20,000. You will face anywhere from 180 days to 2 years in a state jail or a fine of up to $10,000 or both.
Third Degree Felony
· When you steal items worth anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000. You will get 2 to 10 years imprisonment in a state prison or a fine up to $10,000 or both.
Second degree felony
· When you steal items worth $100,000 to $200,000. You will face anywhere from 2 to 20 years imprisonment in a state prison or a fine not exceeding $10,000 or both.
First degree felony
· When you steal items worth $200,000 or more and you will face anywhere from 5 to 99 years imprisonment in a state prison or a fine not exceeding $10,000 or both.
What To Do When Charged With Theft
The best thing you can do is hire a professional defense attorney to handle your case. Regardless of how serious the offense is, you can be in a lot of trouble and can hold a criminal record for the rest of your life, which is something you don’t want, or need. Hiring a competent criminal attorney in Texas will save you a lot.