What Is An Unlawful Appropriation

Under Texas law, theft has been described as unlawful appropriation of property by an individual/s intending to deprive the owner that property. Most theft crimes can be consolidated into theft as per the Texas Penal Code.

Definition of Unlawful appropriation

The theft statute describes appropriation as bring about transfer/purported transfer of title to/other non-possessory interest in a property. The transfer or purported transfer applies to actors or other parties. Theft is also defined as the acquisition or other exercises of control over other property besides real property.

In actual sense, it is not illegal or wrong to think of taking something that isn’t yours currently. For instance, when shopping, you take things which don’t belong to you. The transfer of ownership actually happens when you pay for those things. You become the legal owner of whatever is in a store after you pay. This transfer is referred to as appropriation according to theft law.

In summary, some appropriations aren’t unlawful. So, what makes appropriation unlawful?

According to Texas Penal Code 31.03(b), appropriation is unlawful if it doesn’t include an owner’s effective consent. Unlawful appropriation also applies when the property in question is stolen, and the actor appropriates such property knowing very well it was stolen by another party. Appropriation of property also becomes unlawful when the property (in the custody of any law enforcement agencies) was represented by a law enforcement agency to an actor as being stolen, and the actor appropriates such property knowing it was stolen.

What is effective consent in Texas?

Since unlawful appropriation mostly occurs in the absence of an owner’s effective consent, it’s important to understand what this term means. Effective consent includes consent by persons that qualify to be the owner of a certain property legally.

Consent isn’t effective if such persons (owners) are induced by coercion or deception. Consent also ceases to be effective if it is given by persons who aren’t legally authorized to acts on behalf of an owner.

Other scenarios where effective consent is absent include; when consent is given purely to detect commission of an offense/s or when consent is given by persons who known by an actor to be incapable of making reasonable property dispositions because of mental disease, defect, intoxication or by reason of youth.

If consent is given by persons known to an actor to have a compromised capacity to make rational and/or informed decision about reasonable disposition of property because of advanced age, such consent is also deemed ineffective.

In summary, effective consent means a property owner has agreed to appropriation and wasn’t tricked into an agreement because of factors described above, such as old age, mental incapacitation, coercion, deception, transacting with stolen property, among other factors.

Unlawful appropriation can be a challenging subject. To argue a theft case in Texas, you must prove the absence of effective consent from an owner. The importance of seeking legal services from a seasoned lawyer on theft matters can’t be overlooked. You should work with lawyers who have first-hand experience handling theft charges successfully from both ends.

Unlawful Appropiation & Theft Defense In Fort Worth

Read About: Categories And Penalties For Theft In Texas


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