Dallas Attorneys For Theft Defense
Dallas Attorneys For Theft Defense On Dealing With Stolen Property
Overview: What Is Theft In Texas?
Before you explore the defenses you can use in court to fight theft in Texas charges, it’s important to understand what constitutes theft in Dallas as per Chapter 31: Texas Penal Code on offenses against property. Section 31.01 of the code talks about theft or stealing property broadly to include many factors.
Theft By Deception In Dallas, TX
Misleading parties or a party in a transaction can constitute theft by deception. The same applies to failing to amend misleading information you came to know about later regarding a transaction. Preventing another person from getting information that is likely to influence their decision in a transaction can also constitute theft in Dallas.
Other instances include selling/transferring/encumbering property without full disclosure of a lien, adverse claim, security interest, or other legal impediments regardless of the validity of the impediment. What’s more, you may also be guilty of theft in Texas if you promise performance likely to alter the judgment of a party in a transaction when you know you won’t perform or intend to perform as promised.
Theft By Depriving
Besides misleading and other deceptive practices, theft can also involve depriving someone of their property. The Penal Code describes depriving as withholding property from a rightful owner temporarily or permanently to the extent that a significant value of the property or enjoyment is lost.
Actions such as disposing of property in a way that makes it unlikely for the rightful owner to recover it can also constitute theft.
Important Elements In Theft
Theft also requires some elements, such as effective consent. If property is exchanged without the effective consent of the legal owner, such actions constitute theft. The same applies to acts of deception and coercion when dealing with property that isn’t legally yours or when you lack the authority to act on behalf of the legal owner.
Also, property exchange that takes place when the legal owner is not an adult, suffers a mental disease, or is intoxicated can also constitute theft. The same applies to property owners of advanced age, especially when the person acting on their behalf takes advantage of their diminished capacity.
Receiving stolen property also constitutes theft in Texas. A typical example would be a pawnshop receiving stolen items. Persons who buy stolen items can also be found guilty of theft. In Dallas, Texas, theft takes many forms, including the intention to deprive someone of their property.
The broad definition of theft in Texas includes receiving and purchasing stolen items, as well as deception calls for expert legal help. Even if you are purchasing something you can’t know is stolen, the law (in some cases) assumes you should know.
To avoid misdemeanor and felony theft charges in Texas, you need to hire seasoned Dallas attorneys for theft defense, such as those at The Medlin Law Firm.
Defenses For Stolen Property Charges In Dallas
I. Lack of Actual & Constructive Knowledge
In cases where a person receives stolen property, there needs to be proof that that person knew they were receiving stolen property. Being found
with stolen property isn’t enough in many cases. The prosecution must prove you knew you were purchasing stolen items i.e., had constructive or actual knowledge. As a result, it is possible to fight charges by claiming a lack of actual or constructive knowledge.
You can have knowledge of stolen items from the person selling them or via the news. Such knowledge is considered actual knowledge. In some cases, it is expected for you to know something has been stolen. For instance, there is a high likelihood/chance that things bought from pawn shops are stolen. The same applies to items bought from a street corner, black market, etc.
The same applies to persons who buy and sell things for a living. It is expected that you buy items from reputable businesses or persons only. Other unique scenarios include buying overly cheap items when you know or should know the typical price. Regardless of your obligations, seasoned Dallas attorneys for theft defense can challenge the prosecution to offer concrete evidence that you had actual or constructive knowledge.
II. Right/Belief Of Ownership
Your lawyer could also claim there is a right or belief of property ownership. Since the Texas Penal Code clearly states the conditions for stealing property as depriving someone else of their property, having a belief of ownership can be used as a defense.
You can’t steal from yourself. Provided your seasoned theft attorney shows there was a valid reason for you to believe you owned the property in question or had a right to it, you can get stolen property charges dismissed in Dallas.
It’s worth noting that having a belief in ownership doesn’t necessarily mean you are the owner. Provided you believe it was your property, you just need a good theft attorney in Dallas to show this was the actual/ honest case.
For instance, if something accidentally got into your shopping cart after you paid for groceries, believing that whatever was in your cart was yours can be a valid argument if you paid for everything else and there is footage of the accidental addition.
You can also claim entrapment if someone induced you (an innocent party) to commit theft that you didn’t intend to commit. The defendant shouldn’t have a history of crime or an inclination to commit a crime for this defense to work.
For instance, if items of value are left in the open, and someone comes up and attempts to take the items, there’s no entrapment in such a scenario. However, if the perpetrator is directed and encouraged to take the items sitting in the open, there may be a strong argument that one was enticed to commit the crime.
As mentioned above, you can’t be accused of stealing if you have a property owner’s consent. This defense can be used especially when the theft is not actualized. A typical example would be when a property owner suspects someone wants to steal their property and creates the opportunity (sets a trap) for the theft to happen.
In such cases, if the property is taken, they may be an element of consent since the property owner “designed” the crime or allowed it to happen.
Another example would be insurance fraud, where a property owner fakes a theft so that they can file a claim. Since the property owner consents to such theft, it wouldn’t meet the legal definition of stolen property.
If you don’t intend to steal but do so because you have been forced or threatened, such an occurrence can be used as a defense. The same applies to blackmail. If you steal because someone is blackmailing you and have sufficient proof for such a claim, resulting theft charges can be dismissed.
A jury can offer a “not guilty” verdict because the theft wasn’t voluntary. The same applies to threats against 3rd parties. If theft is linked to threats of injury against third parties, seasoned Dallas attorneys for theft defense can pursue a duress defense successfully.
Consequences Of Theft Charges In Dallas & The Importance Of Theft Defense Attorneys
You need seasoned theft attorneys to use the above theft in Texas defenses successfully. Most importantly, you shouldn’t face theft charges without expert legal representation, given the consequences of a theft conviction in Dallas.
The punishment for theft convictions ranges mainly based on the value of the stolen property. For instance, if stealing something valued less than $100 attracts the least charges (Class C misdemeanor), which results in a fine (not exceeding $500) and no jail time. Theft involving items valued at $100 to $750 attracts Class B misdemeanor charges that attract a jail term (up to 6-months) and a fine (not exceeding $2,000).
Theft of property valued at $750 to $2,500 attracts Class A misdemeanor charges with a fine (not exceeding $4,000 and up to 12 months in jail). If the property is worth $2,500 to $30,000, the charges are treated as a felony (state jail) with fines up t0 $10,000 and a 6-month to a 2-year jail term. Theft can also qualify as 3rd or 2nd-degree felony for property valued at ($30,000-$150,000 and $150,000 to $300,000, respectively).
Both charges attract fines of up to $10,000. However, while 3rd-degree felony convictions attract 2-10-years imprisonment while 2nd-degree felony convictions come with 2-20-year imprisonment. You can find yourself spending 5 -99 years or life for stealing property above $300,000 in Dallas. The same charges (first-degree felony) attract a fine (up to $10,000).
Most importantly, the value of the property in question may be small. However, you can face enhanced charges if you have stolen property before. Other hurdles include a criminal record, making it harder to secure employment, rent an apartment, or get affordable loans. The importance of fighting theft charges in Dallas with legal experts can’t, therefore, be overemphasized.
Dallas attorneys for theft defense at The Medlin Law Firm are tested and proven to successfully tackle theft charges with the above defenses. Don’t risk your freedom or expose yourself to any other negative consequence of theft in Texas conviction.