Thefts are some of the most common crimes in Texas meaning the state’s larceny laws are used more than many others.
Generally, to commit larceny a person has to take property with the intent to deprive the owner of his or her belongings.
However, larceny does not have to involve someone directly taking another’s property. Theft can be the removal of property that the defendant was aware had been stolen by another party. The acceptance of goods you know to be stolen is larceny.
Also in Texas, a defendant may commit a crime by failing to perform an affirmative act which would confirm the item in question was not stolen. A classic example is the pink slip or title that has to be turned over to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles if you sell your car.
Also, failure to file with a county tax assessor may be grounds for a theft conviction.
Of course, these acts are less blatant than taking goods from a store, and extenuating circumstances may help your defense.
At the Medlin Law Firm, we handle a considerable number of theft cases involving shoplifting.
These crimes can include someone passing the checkout location at a store without paying for a product or concealing it in clothing.
There is also theft by check. If a person writes a check which bounces and they fail to make good on it, the law presumes that they intended to steal the amount or they intended to commit larceny. Texas also has theft of service where someone gets paid for doing a job and service and they don’t follow through with it.
Like most other states Texas classifies its larceny offenses according to the value of the stolen property or services. The type of property stolen may also be relevant.
These offenses range from Class C misdemeanor theft (or petty theft) which is the lowest level of theft in Texas. If the value of goods stolen is less than $50, the sentence is a fine of no more than $500.
At the other end of the spectrum, stealing $200,000 or more in goods or services is charged as a felony of the first degree and you can be jailed for five to 99 years and fined up to $10,000.
The $2,500 threshold is the difference between larceny being charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.
A prior criminal history will make a huge difference in a larceny case. If you are convicted twice of a theft of any value on the scale, you can be charged with a state jail felony-level offense punishable by up to 180 days to two years in a state jail and a $10,000 fine.
If you have been charged with a larceny, you should call our Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.