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Texas Theft Crimes
Theft Definition Under Texas Law
Theft is defined in the Texas Penal Code as the taking of another person’s personal property without their consent with the intent to deprive them of that property. In order for someone to be convicted of theft, they must have participated in some sort of act to commit the theft (e.g., breaking and entering). Theft can be a misdemeanor or felony depending on the value of the stolen property.
There are many different types of theft, including organized retail theft, theft by check, cargo theft, and more. The penalties for theft depend on the value of the property stolen and whether it was a first or subsequent offense. Other crimes related to theft can include larceny, embezzlement, and burglary.
Theft-related crimes are generally broken down into a few different categories: larceny, robbery, burglary, and embezzlement. Each crime has its own specific set of penalties and requirements for prosecution. If you are charged with a theft-related crime, it is important to have an attorney who can help you fight the charge and protect your rights.
If you are found guilty of a theft-related crime, you may face criminal fines, restitution (if any was stolen), or even imprisonment. It is important to know the laws applicable to your particular situation in order to avoid getting caught up in a criminal justice system that could result in serious consequences for yourself and your family.
Classification Of Theft Offenses And Penalties In Texas
Theft offenses in Texas are classified according to the value of the property or service stolen. The classification of a theft offense determines the severity of the punishment an offender may face. Theft offenses are generally categorized as misdemeanors or felonies, with first-degree felonies being the most severe. In addition to fines and possible imprisonment, a judge can also order an offender to pay restitution to the victim.
In Texas, theft offenses are classified into levels of severity based on the value of the property or services stolen. The most severe classification is a first-degree felony, punishable by 5 to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. If you have one prior theft conviction, your charges will be bumped up to a higher-level criminal offense. Theft offenses committed as part of your public servant or contract with the government may be punished more severely than theft offenses not related to these roles.
- Class C Misdemeanor Theft
A Class C misdemeanor is the most minor type of theft crime and is defined as the theft of property or services with a value of less than $100. The punishment for this type of theft can include a fine of up to $500 but does not involve any jail time. Theft crimes where the value of the stolen property is less than $1,500 are considered to be misdemeanor thefts, but there are some exceptions.
- Class B Misdemeanor Theft
Theft is a Class B misdemeanor if the value of the stolen property or services is $100 or more but less than $750. Class B misdemeanor theft is punishable by a jail sentence of up to one year and/or a $4,000 fine. This means that the person convicted of this crime could spend up to one year in jail and/or pay a maximum fine of $4,000.
- Class A Misdemeanor Theft
Class A misdemeanor theft is a criminal offense punishable by a fine of no more than $4,000, imprisonment for no more than one year, or both. The value of the property stolen determines the classification and punishment of the crime. If the property is valued at $500 or more but less than $1,500, it is a Class A misdemeanor and carries a fine of not more than $4,000 and up to one year in jail.
There are exceptions to these values which can result in harsher punishments. For example, if the item stolen is a firearm or certain livestock, it would automatically upgrade the punishment to a state jail felony. Theft is defined as taking anything that does not belong to you with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it.
- State Jail Felony Theft
Theft is a state jail felony if the stolen property or services is valued at $2,500 or more but less than $30,000. The punishment for a state jail felony theft can include a fine of no more than $10,000, imprisonment ranging from 180 days to two years, or both. Theft is considered the “lowest” form of theft in Texas; however, that does not mean it is not a serious offense. It may not be as severe as third-, second-, or first-degree felonies, but it can still result in incarceration and/or fines.
- Third-Degree Felony Theft
Theft is a felony of the third degree if the value of the stolen property or services is $30,000 or more but less than $150,000. The punishment for a third-degree felony is a fine of no more than $10,000, imprisonment ranging from two to ten years, or both. This means that theft that totals between $30,000 and $150,000 can result in a prison term between 2 and 10 years.
- Second-Degree Felony Theft
Theft is a felony of the second degree if the value of the stolen property or services is $150,000 or more but less than $300,000. The punishment for a second-degree felony is a fine of not more than $10,000, imprisonment ranging from two to 20 years, or both.
- First-Degree Felony Theft
First-degree felony theft is committed when the amount of property or services stolen is $300,000 or more. The punishment for this crime can range from 5 to 99 years in prison and a fine of not more than $10,000.
Enhanced Theft Penalties
If someone commits theft and it is their third offense, the penalties will be harsher if the stolen property is under the control of a public servant or if it is owned by someone age 65 or older. Additionally, theft penalties increase for preventing or attempting to prevent a retail theft detector from going off or if you make or distribute a deactivating device. A person may be charged with a class A misdemeanor if they make or distribute such a device.
The enhanced theft penalties in Texas also increase the punishment for stealing any type of vehicle to a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and/or a fine of $250,000. Additionally, other enhancements include increasing the punishment for obstructing an officer while they are executing their duties related to investigating or preventing crime (such as vandalism) to a maximum sentence of two years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $100,000. Finally, the enhanced theft penalties also increase the punishment for possession of property obtained by a crime to a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and/or a fine of $250,000.
Types Of Theft Under Texas Law
There are a number of different types of theft crimes that can be charged in Texas. The most common types are shoplifting, bad checks, general theft, buying or accepting stolen property, and credit card abuse. Each type of theft has its own set of specific penalties and punishments that can be handed down by the court.
Penalties for Theft in Texas
Theft crimes in Texas are classified into different categories based on the value of the stolen items. The penalties for these crimes vary from misdemeanors that involve only fines to felonies that could involve prison sentences.
Class B misdemeanors, which involve property valued between $50 and $500, or property is a stolen ID, come with a jail sentence of up to 180 days, a fine of up to $2,000, or both.
Class A misdemeanors, which involve property valued between $500 and $1,500 are punishable by a jail sentence of up to one year, a fine of up to $4,000, or both.
State jail felony, which involves property valued between $1,500 and $20,000, comes with a state jail sentence between 180 days and two years plus a fine of up to $10,000.
In Texas, the penalties for theft crimes increase with the value of the stolen property. For example, if someone steals property valued between $20,000 and $100,000, they will be charged with a Class 3rd degree felony. This charge comes with a prison sentence of two to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000. If the stolen property is worth between $100,000 and $200,000, then the charge is increased to a Class 2nd degree felony. This charge comes with a prison sentence of two to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000. Finally, if the stolen property is worth more than $200,000, then the charge is increased to a Class 1st degree felony. This charge comes with a prison sentence of five to 99 years and a fine of up to$10,000.
If you find yourself facing theft charges in Texas, you need to hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Theft charges are serious and can result in severe penalties if you’re convicted.
If you or someone you know has been charged with theft, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Medlin Law Firm for a free consultation today.