Houston, Texas Theft Attorney
Arrested for a Theft Crime in Harris County, TX?
When faced with criminal charges or even informal allegations involving theft, it may be difficult to know what to do or where to turn. Theft charges and other crimes related to the taking of another person's property can be penalized in Texas with jail time and other significant punishments.
Instead of agreeing to police questioning or a search without fully understanding your rights, immediately involve a Houston theft attorney from our firm and experience the difference of having a strong advocate for your interests. At The Law Offices of Jed Silverman, we believe in educating our clients and we take an aggressive stance against criminal charges in order to provide the greatest opportunity at a swift and beneficial case resolution.
Texas Penal Code §31.03: Theft
There are different types of theft, which may be charged as misdemeanors or felonies with widely varied penalties. Unauthorized use of a vehicle, for example, is a state jail felony (Texas Penal Code § 31.07). Possessing, creating, or distributing tools used to commit retail theft is a misdemeanor offense (Texas Penal Code § 31.15). Organized retail theft can be charged as a first-degree felony with extreme penalties (Texas Penal Code § 31.16).
The general offense of theft is covered in Texas Penal Code § 31.03 and encompasses shoplifting, theft from a person, theft by false pretext, embezzling, extortion, receiving or concealing stolen property, check fraud, and similar acts.
Texas Theft Penalties
- Class C Misdemeanor: less than $50
- Class B Misdemeanor: $50 to less than $500
- Class A Misdemeanor: $500 to less than $1,500
- State Jail Felony: $1,500 to less than $20,000
- Third Degree Felony: $20,000 to less than $100,000
- Second Degree Felony: $100,000 to less than $200,000
- First Degree Felony: $200,000 or more
The charges for shoplifting can also be increased to the next highest level if the individual deactivated a store theft alarm or used a shielding device, such as a shopping bag lined with foil or metal, to prevent detection by a theft alarm. Charges can also be increased if the individual used any device to remove a store security tag from an item.
In shoplifting cases, prosecutors often rely on the testimony of store employees who claim to have witnessed the alleged theft. In some cases, however, overzealous store employees can misinterpret innocent behavior. On cross-examination defense counsel can sometimes demonstrate the store employees did not have a clear view of what occurred.
In other shoplifting cases, an individual may accidentally leave a store without paying for an item. In that situation, the necessary element of criminal intent is missing and the charges should be dismissed.
Defense for Theft Charges in Houston, TX
Not every allegation of theft or stealing is warranted. In some cases, individuals erroneously report crimes based on the taking of property when, in fact, no crime was actually committed. Additionally, in some situations a prosecutor's case of alleged theft may not fully meet all of the required elements of the charge under the state's law. When a prosecutor fails to make his case or when a party has a defense to a theft-based crime, the individual facing the charge or charges may be exonerated by the criminal court.
No matter the type of theft-related offense, aggressive defense counsel is a must if you are to have the best opportunity at a positive case result. At The Law Offices of Jed Silverman, we represent clients in Houston and throughout Harris County in the face of all theft crime charges. We can handle cases involving non-violent and violent theft crimes ranging from petty theft to robbery. Find out how our Houston theft lawyers can defend your constitutional rights.
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