Denton Theft Charges
The criminal charge of theft is very serious because it is considered a crime of moral turpitude. A conviction for theft can disqualify you from certain professional licenses, some types of job opportunities and even jury service.
Defense Against Criminal Theft Charges in the State of Texas
There are several different offenses that are considered theft according to Texas state law. These include:
- General Theft/Larceny – This includes the taking of the items or possessions of another individual or business that you do not have permission to take. This includes things like stripping copper from a construction site, taking the wallet of someone on the street, etc.
- Writing Bad Checks – This includes writing checks drawing from closed accounts or from accounts you know did not have enough money to cover the check. If the check mere draws on insufficient funds, you have 10 days to reimburse a merchant in the state of Texas to avoid criminal charges.
- Fraud – This is a rather broad area that includes a number of crimes like check forgery, credit fraud, identity theft, credit card fraud, etc.
- Shoplifting – This includes the taking of items out of a location with the deliberate intention of not paying for the items’ full value. This includes any variety of shoplifting scheme including changing into articles of clothing for sale and attempting to leave as if you wore them into the store.
- Embezzlement – Embezzlement is when someone takes all or part of a property or monetary amount they were trusted to monitor on the behalf of another party. One key aspect of this charge is that the person performing the theft had legal access to the money or property, but did not have ownership of it. When theft of this kind happens based on a violation of trust and not by other means, the crime is known as embezzlement.
- Accepting/Buying Stolen Property – It is also against the law in the state of Texas to pay for or accept any property you know to be stolen. Thus, if someone steals a shirt and then gives it to you and you know it’s stolen, you are now guilty of theft.
- Theft of Services – This refers to the stealing of something that isn’t an item. An example would be hiring a contractor to remodel your house and then refusing to pay.
One important thing to keep in mind when facing theft charges in the state of Texas is that it is the burden of the prosecution to show that you acted with criminal intent.
This means they must establish:
- That you knew the property was not your own
- That you knew you had no permission to take it
- That you actually had possession of the property in question
Any of these three may be disputed based on the circumstances. If the prosecution cannot prove these three things, then the criteria for a conviction will not be met. This is why it’s so vital to not face such charges on your own, but instead to hire a qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney such as Earl Dobson.
Penalties for Theft in the State of Texas
The seriousness of the offense is generally determined by such factors as amount of loss, type of property alleged to have been taken and any special relationship between the accused and the accuser. Cases involving insufficient funds or hot checks still carry some of the same consequences.
Here are some of the penalties you can expect if convicted of theft in the state of Texas:
- Amounts less than $50 are Class C Misdemeanors resulting in penalties no more than a fine of $500.
- Amounts $50-$500 are Class B Misdemeanors resulting in penalties no more than $2,000 and/or up to 180 days in jail.
- Amounts $501-$1500 are Class C Misdemeanors resulting in penalties no more than $4,000 and/or up to 1 year in jail.
- Amounts $1,501-$20,000 are a State Jail Felony resulting in penalties no more than $10,000 and/or up to 2 years in jail.
- Amounts $20,000-$100,000 are a Third-Degree Felony resulting in penalties no more than $10,000 and/or up to 10 years in prison.
- Amounts $100,001-$200,000 are a Second-Degree Felony resulting in penalties no more than $10,000 and/or up to 20 years in prison.
- Amounts greater than $200,000 are a First-Degree Felony resulting in penalties no more than $10,000 and/or up to 99 years in prison.
Defense Against Theft Charges in the State of Texas
The Law Office of Earl Dobson has the experience necessary to determine if the case against you warrants a trial or if plea negotiations are the most prudent legal path. Your case may be able to be fought on many grounds including: lack of intent, mistake of fact, age, and duress. What’s more, many theft allegations may be characterized as business conflicts or misunderstandings and these may be able to be resolved without further law enforcement intervention. For these cases where it is necessary to negotiate an outcome, Earl Dobson is aware of the programs available in Denton County that allow theft offenses to be resolved without a conviction.
For a free consultation with Board Certified Criminal Lawyer, Earl Dobson, fill out the contact form to the left or call the phone number at the top of the page. In the consultation we will discuss:
- The level of offense you may be facing
- Any possibilities of getting the charges transferred to civil court without the involvement of law enforcement.
- Different theories the State may pursue in attempting to prove a theft charge against you.
- Programs available that would allow you to avoid potential long term negative consequences.