Weatherford Theft Lawyer
Theft is one of the most common charges filed in Texas criminal courts, and the state penal code has multiple laws that define and punish this activity. As such, it can be difficult for defendants facing these allegations to understand how the law applies to their specific case and what the potential consequences might be. A Weatherford theft lawyer could help educate defendants charged with theft and work to help establish a credible defense.
Courts determine the severity of a theft charge by considering both the type of the property stolen and its value. The theft of some items is always a felony while a theft involving multiple smaller items may raise a charge to the felony level. In any event, a charge of theft is a cause for great concern. Contact a committed criminal defense attorney and begin developing a comprehensive legal strategy to refute the accusation.
Types of Theft in the State Penal Code
The Texas Penal Code establishes numerous versions of theft, all of which share a common definition of the theft itself. According to Texas Penal Code §31.03, a theft is any unlawful appropriation of another’s property with the intent to deprive the owner of that property.
This includes the taking of any property without the owner’s consent or taking possession of any property that the defendant knows is stolen. The Texas Penal Code also outlaws the theft of services under Texas Penal Code §31.04 and the theft of trade secrets under Texas Penal Code §31.05.
Criminal penalties for theft depend on two factors: economic value, and type of item stolen. Most thefts are punished according to the value of the items taken. For example:
- All thefts of items or services valued at under $100 in total is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine
- Values of between $100 and $750 are Class B misdemeanors where a maximum jail term of up to 180 days may apply
- Values of between $750 and $2,500 are Class A misdemeanors with a maximum jail term of one year
Any property valued above $2,500 in Texas is a felony-level crime that may carry a mandatory minimum prison sentence. In fact, at high enough values theft can be a felony of the first degree, the most serious class of felony listed in the Texas Penal Code.
The type of item stolen can also bring enhanced penalties, regardless of that item’s exact value. The theft of a firearm, precious metals, controlled substances, a driver’s license, or any item taken from a grave trigger these enhanced penalties. A Weatherford theft attorney could help a plaintiff understand Texas theft laws as they apply to their charges.
Refuting Weatherford Theft Charges in Court
Just as with any other criminal charge, the prosecutor bears the burden of proving each element of a theft charge to a jury. This includes proving not only that the defendant took the items in question, but that they did so with the intent to deprive the owner of its use.
As such, a skilled theft lawyer in Weatherford could cross-examine the owner of the property to bring out evidence that the property was loaned to the defendant. The defense could also argue that the alleged thief had no reason to suspect that the property was stolen when they took possession of it.
Talk to a Weatherford Theft Attorney Today
People arrested for theft may not understand the law as it applies to their case or why their charges are so serious. The truth of the matter is that theft charges under the Texas Penal Code are often a complicated combination of statutes that can be tricky for anyone without legal representation to sift through.
From the date of your arrest, a Weatherford theft lawyer could work to combat aggressive police tactics, speak with witnesses and examine security footage on your behalf, and develop a powerful defense strategy. Call today to see how a dedicated attorney could work to defend your rights and freedoms both in and out of court.