Dallas Lawyer For Theft & Fraud Defense
Dallas Lawyer For Theft & Fraud Defense: The Differences Between Theft, Burglary & Robbery
Dallas lawyer for theft and fraud defense is an attorney that has relevant experience in defending theft charges. Look for one if you find yourself charged with theft in Dallas.
Differences In Definition As Per Texas Law
The three terms burglary, robbery, and theft are used interchangeably. However, they mean different things. The consequences of theft, burglary, and robbery are also different. Here’s how the law defines the three terms.
Definition Of Burglary In Texas
Burglary is clearly described in the Penal Code – Sec. 30.02 as entering someone else’s structure or building without their consent and with the intention of stealing, committing assault, or a felony crime. In Texas, burglary doesn’t have to involve forceful entry or breaking into another person’s property. What’s more, you don’t have to steal anything to face burglary charges.
A simple act as entering someone else’s property without their permission, even if the doors or entrance is open, can result in a burglary charge and conviction. The intention to commit an offense is enough.
Typical Example of Burglary in Texas: If a person is caught looking inside another person’s property using a flashlight and runs away when confronted or senses someone coming, such actions are “suspect” and may be enough to launch a burglary charge.
Definition Of Robbery In Texas
Robbery is defined in Section 29.02 of the Texas Penal Code. The law requires two main “ingredients” to term something a robbery. First and foremost, there must be an intentional cause of bodily injury or an imminent intentional threat to cause bodily injury or even death. What’s more, the harm or intention to cause harm knowingly should be accompanied by the attempt to steal something or actual stealing.
Unlike burglary, which doesn’t require the intention to cause bodily injury or imminent threats, robbery must have an element of physical fear and/or force. Given the definition, robbery is much more severe than burglary. In fact, robbery is a violent crime. However, the intention to harm is enough. Robbery victims in Texas don’t need to be physically harmed for a suspect to face robbery charges.
Typical Example Of Robbery In Texas:
If a person walks into a convenience store with a gun or deadly weapon (like a knife) and threatens to use the weapon i.e., shoot the clerk if they don’t open the safe or cash register, such a scenario will attract robbery charges. The same applies if the suspect steals from other customers using his/her gun. What’s more, actions such as punching someone and stealing their wallet can also qualify as robbery.
Definition Of Theft In Texas
The Penal Code: Sec. 31.03 defines theft as an offense that involves unlawfully appropriating (exchanging) property to deprive the owner. There must be consent before the property is exchanged. What’s more, a theft charge can occur if you receive stolen property knowingly. Theft can also be said to occur if property kept in custody by law enforcement (after being suspected to be stolen) is exchanged or appropriated.
Example of Theft in Texas: There are several forms of theft in Texas. They include shoplifting, swindling, extortion, receiving/concealing stolen property, theft by threats, false pretext, or issuing checks when you don’t have money.
Summary Of Differences In Definition Between Burglary, Robbery & Theft In Texas
Unlike burglary, you don’t need to enter another person’s property to attract a robbery charge. Someone waiting outside a convenience store with a gun and robbing customers can be charged and convicted of robbery.
Another notable difference is the presence or absence of the victim. In most burglaries, victims are usually absent during the crime. However, victims must be present to be robbed. Robbery is also a violent crime, while burglary rarely involves threats or violent acts.
For theft to occur, the perpetrator doesn’t need to enter the victim’s property or use force or violence. What’s more, victims don’t need to be present. As discussed above, theft takes many forms, including embezzlement a false pretext.
Differences In Penalties
The difference between burglary, robbery, and theft in Texas can also be explored in regard to penalties.
What Are The Penalties/Punishment For Burglary In Texas?
The penalties for committing burglary in Texas can assess based on the type. For instance, if the burglary happens in a building or property where no one resides, such burglary attracts a maximum of 2 years in jail.
If the property in question houses someone, such burglary can attract 2 – 20-years in jail as well as a fine (not exceeding $10,000). Burglary that involves habitation (a victim present or residing in the property) must involve property that is suited to allow overnight stay. This can include a home or other property where someone lives or sleeps.
Burglary could be escalated to a more serious offense such as a felony if another offense was involved. A typical example would be a burglary where a perpetrator unexpectedly encounters someone while committing the offense, and results in violence or threatening violence. Such instances can attract life imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Given the complexity of some burglary charges, it’s advisable to contact experienced Texas burglary attorneys to understand the unique circumstances of the case and possible outcomes. The Medlin Law Firm has 79+ years of legal expertise in burglary and other crimes in Texas.
What Is The Consequence Of A Robbery Conviction In Texas?
Penalties for committing robbery in Texas vary depending on the type. Typical robbery cases are treated as 2nd-degree felonies that attract anywhere from 2 to 20-years in jail and fines not exceeding $10,000 for every offense.
Aggravated robbery, which involves serious bodily injuries to the victim, use of a deadly weapon, or brandishing a deadly weapon, are treated as 1st-degree felonies. Examples of deadly weapons include guns, knives, and other crude weapons capable of causing severe injuries or death. Aggravated robbery may also involve serious imminent threats to injure someone or kill them especially when the victim is elderly (aged 65 years and above) or they are disabled.
Persons charged and convicted for aggravated robbery face up to life in prison and hefty fines (up to $10,000.
Since every case has unique facts, penalties can vary in severity. Legal expertise is critical to analyzing the case and offering the best outcome. There are several defenses that attorneys can exploit to lessen robbery charges. Hiring a lawyer can determine if you spend more time in jail.
What Are The Consequence Of A Theft Conviction In Texas?
Theft in Texas attracts different penalties based mainly on the amount stolen or the value in question. Some other factors can count i.e., is the perpetrator a first or repeat offender. Generally, first offenders get more lenient penalties than repeat offenders.
The nature of the theft can also count. For instance, a person who steals or attempts to steal from an elderly or disabled person can expect to face stiffer penalties than someone who commits typical theft. The law considers intent in many unique theft cases and may punish some perpetrators more than others even if the amounts involved are small.
All in all, the value/amount stolen takes precedence in typical theft cases in Texas. Generally, theft involving property/services valued at $99 or below is treated as a Class C misdemeanor that attracts a fine only of $500 or less. However, theft charges can quickly escalate to felony charges as the amount in question increases. While theft may be different from robbery in severity, it is possible to spend life in prison, especially when the amount in question is colossal or the theft includes heinous acts like robbing an elderly person of their entire retirement funds.
Stealing property worth $99 or less can be a Class B misdemeanor if the perpetrator has been convicted of theft before. Such crimes attract 6-months in jail and fines not exceeding $2,000. Other examples of Class B misdemeanors include stealing some types of items i.e., a personal identification document, or theft involving amounts ranging from $100 to $750.
If the theft involves an amount ranging from $750 to $2,500, such theft will be treated as a Class A misdemeanor resulting in fines (up to $4,000) and a maximum of 12 months in prison. Theft of amounts ranging from $2,500-$30,000 escalates to felony charges – state jail felony that attracts up to 24 months imprisonment and fines (no exceeding $10,000).
Other examples of theft that qualify as state jail felonies include stealing a firearm, stealing from a grave as well as theft of property lower than $2,500 where the perpetrator has prior theft convictions. Stealing certain types of metals valued at less than $20,000 can also attract state jail felony charges.
Theft can also escalate to third-degree felony charges if the stolen property is a controlled substance valued less than $150,000 or property ranging from $30,000 – $150,000 in value. Such charges can attract 2-10-years in prison and a fine (not exceeding $10,000). Prior convictions attract longer jail terms. For instance, a third conviction can attract 25-years to life imprisonment.
If you steal from an ATM machine amounts under $300,000 or steal any property ranging between $150,000 & $300,000, such an offense becomes a 2nd-degree felony that attracts a $10,000 fine or less and 2-20 years in jail.
Theft can also escalate to a first-degree felony requiring 5-99-years in jail. This is common with theft involving property worth over $300,000.
Hire A Dallas Lawyer For Theft & Fraud Defense
Make sure you have a solid defense strategy by hiring a criminal defense attorney. A competent theft attorney can help you figure out your ideal options for the best possible outcome in your case.