Dallas Theft Defense Lawyer
Dallas Theft Defense Lawyer: Types Of Theft In Texas
A Dallas theft defense lawyer can walk you through the different types of theft in Texas. The Penal Code: Title-7, Section-31.03 defines theft as unlawful appropriation of property with the intention to deprive the rightful owner. To understand theft in Texas in-depth, it’s important to define unlawful appropriation.
Definition Of Unlawful Appropriation As Per The Texas Penal Code
Unlawful appropriation occurs when an owner of the property doesn’t offer consent to its transfer. It can also occur when a person appropriates property fully knowing that the property is stolen.
Appropriation as per Section 31.03(b) appropriation involves the actual or purported transfer of property or nonpossessory property interests to an actor or another. The definition includes exercising control over property that isn’t real property.
The theft statute is complex to the extent that you can take something that isn’t yours, and it isn’t necessarily a crime. A typical example would be taking something in a store before you buy it.
Technically speaking, you own something after paying but in a store setting, you can’t be said to have stolen something unless you leave the store without paying. The transfer is what is known as appropriation and is generally used for theft law purposes since some appropriations aren’t illegal.
Appropriation becomes illegal when it is without consent from the owner, the case involves stolen property, and the actor appropriates such property with full knowledge that it is stolen.
You can be arrested and charged for theft in Texas if you use deception to take someone else’s property or if you steal property. When proving theft charges in Texas, prosecutors are tasked with showing criminal intent. Also, they must prove possession. The nature of the transfer (appropriation) is also carefully assessed.
If charged with theft, find a reliable Dallas theft defense lawyer to defend your case.
Understanding consent is also important when discerning different types of theft in Texas. Generally, the owner of the property must legally authorize appropriation (give effective consent) for their property to be transferred lawfully. Theft can be said to occur in the absence of effective consent i.e. when the transfer of property is characterized by coercion or deception. Also, if the person purporting to transfer property isn’t the owner or legally authorized by the owner, such a situation lacks effective consent.
What’s more, effective consent may if given by persons who have a mental disease, intoxicated, elderly, or youthful persons who aren’t deemed capable of giving effective consent. The same applies to instances where an offense is detected.
Types Of Theft In Texas
Given the above definitions, theft can be categorized in several ways. The main ones include theft by the specific nature of a crime. The most common types include;
Shoplifting is a common type of theft involving taking things from a retail store without paying for the items. Shoplifting can also take many other forms i.e., exchanging price tags on items so that you can pay less than you should.
This is another common type of theft characterized by breaking or unauthorized entry into a structure or building without the owner’s permission. There also needs to be the intention to commit assault or theft.
If you steal from people after creating fear or injuring your victims because of recklessness or deliberate action, you can be guilty of robbery.
If you use divert money that isn’t yours i.e., company money meant for company projects, and use it for personal use or other purposes not originally intended, such actions can constitute embezzlement.
V. Receiving, Accepting, Or Concealing Stolen Items
If you accept to keep property that you know is stolen or agree to hide such property, you can be charged and convicted for theft.
VI. Service Theft
You can be charged with theft if you steal a service like cable or internet. The same applies to using other services that you should pay to access. Other forms of service theft include refusing to pay for repairs.
VII. Stealing Trade Secrets/Intellectual Property Theft
If you take protected information meant for limited/controlled use by the owners i.e., a company or institution, such an act can qualify as theft. Trade secret theft also includes making copies of protected information and transmitting, selling, or using such information for commercial reasons.
Extortion is another form of theft characterized by threatening others unless they send money or give up other forms of money like property or services.
IX. Other Types Of Theft
In Texas, theft extends to writing bad checks. If you receive goods or services and issue a check when you don’t have enough or any money in the bank, such actions can constitute theft.
There are other types of theft. Generally, taking something that isn’t yours or actions that result in unfair financial advantage constitutes theft directly or indirectly.
What Are The Penalties Of Theft In Texas?
Thieves in Texas are punished based on the amount they succeed or plan to steal. The Penal Code Section 31.03(e) highlights the punishments for stealing. Ideally, the severity of the punishment increases as the amount in question increases. Here’s a summary of the punishment for stealing in Texas.
A. Punishment For Theft/Stealing Property/Services Under $100
If you steal anything less than $100, such theft is usually classified as Class C misdemeanor in Texas, attracting fines not exceeding $500. However, the theft can qualify as a Class B misdemeanor charge if you have stolen before and been convicted of theft. The same applies to stealing property such as an identification document such as a driver’s license.
B. Punishment For Theft Ranging Between $100 & $750
Persons who are charged and found guilty of theft involving items or services valued at $100 to $750 are usually charged with a Class B misdemeanor. Such charges attract up to $2,000 in fines per offense and up to 6-months in jail.
C. Punishment For Theft Ranging Between $750 & $2,500
Persons who are charged and found guilty of theft involving items or services valued between $750 – $2,500 are usually charged with Class A misdemeanors that attract a jail term, not more than a year and a fine not exceeding $4,000.
D. Punishment For Theft Ranging Between $2,500 & $30,000
Persons who are charged and found guilty of theft involving items or services valued between $2,500 & $30,000 face state jail felony charges that attract 6-months to 2-years in jail and fines not exceeding $10,000. State jail felony penalties also apply to stealing certain items like firearms or metals like copper, aluminum, and brass valued at less than $20,000.
Third theft convictions also escalate to state jail felonies regardless of the property value in question i.e., even if the perpetrator steals less than $2,500. Other state jail felony instances include stealing from a grave, an official stealing an election ballot, and theft of certain livestock.
F. Punishment For Theft Ranging Between $30,000 & $150,000
Persons who are charged and found guilty of theft involving items valued between $30,000 & $150,000 are bound to face 3rd-degree felony charges. Such charges attract a jail time of 2 years to a decade. Stealing certain livestock and some controlled substances can also result in 3rd-degree felony charges in Texas even if the amount falls below the above range.
G. Punishment For Theft Ranging Between $150,000 & $300,000
Theft of property in Texas valued between $150,000 & $300,000 is treated as a 2nd-degree felony that attracts 2-20 years in jail and fines not exceeding $10,000. Stealing ATM machines also qualifies as a 2nd-degree felony in Texas, even if the amount in question is less than $300,000.
H. Punishment For Theft Above $300,000
If you steal items/services above $300,000, you risk life imprisonment. Alternatively, you can get 5-99 years in jail and fines not exceeding $10,000.
Are Theft Charges Enhanced In Texas?
Yes! A theft charge involving a “small” amount can easily attract harsher penalties than normal under certain conditions. Generally, stealing from certain persons or entities will attract harsher penalties than usual. A perfect example would be stealing from a government contractor, the government, an elderly person, or a nonprofit. Charges can also increase depending on the person stealing. For instance, a Medicare provider who steals from the government will attract harsher penalties. The same applies to public officials who use their position to steal.
The circumstance of the theft can also lead to an enhancement. For instance, a person who decides to set off a fire alarm and then commits theft will definitely get a harsher sentence regardless of the amount they steal. Stealing after deactivating alarms, using deactivation instruments to prevent detection, and similar unusual instances will also attract harsher penalties than normal.
Summary: Types Of Theft
Theft can be categorized in many ways ranging from nature to the amount in question. Generally, theft becomes more serious as the amount in question increases. The victims also dictate the severity of theft. The same applies to the circumstance. Considering perpetrators can get life imprisonment or other harsh penalties and you could be accused falsely, the importance of challenging theft charges using legal help can’t be overemphasized.
If you need a Dallas theft defense lawyer in Texas with an excellent track record in criminal defense, contact The Medlin Law Firm