The state of Texas is known for its strict laws, and these extend to the charge of theft, which is also called larceny. Theft refers to the act of taking someone else’s property with the intention of depriving the rightful owner of that property. The level of the charge levied is predicated on the value of the property that is alleged to have been taken. Better understanding the basics related to theft charges can be helpful in defending yourself against such charges.
To be charged with theft in the State of Texas, it is not necessary for you to allegedly have taken the property in question yourself. For example, if you purchase a bike (or anything else) from a friend whom you are alleged to have known stole that bike in the first place, you can face theft charges. Knowingly purchasing stolen property is known as third-party theft. It leaves the purchaser just as culpable as the thief himself or herself.
To make the matter more complicated, you are also expected to be able to demonstrate that your purchases were not acquired from someone who stole them. For example, if you purchase a car from someone who does not provide you with the required executed certificate of title, you are legally bound to report that person’s failure to do so to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. (Learn more about the unauthorized use of a motor vehicle)
While Texas does not require a minimum property value before charges of theft can be brought, these charges are weighted according to the value of the property, including the following classifications:
If the value of the property is any amount less than $50, it is a Class C misdemeanor that is punishable by a fine of up to $500 – with no risk of jail time.
If the value of the property is between $50 and $500, the charge is a Class B misdemeanor, which can lead to jail time of not more than 180 days and/or a fine of up to $2,000.
If the value of the property is between $500 and $1,500, it is a Class A misdemeanor that is punishable by up to a year behind bars and/or a fine of up to $4,000.
If the value of the property is between $1,500 and $20,000 – or is of a specific type that includes firearms – the resulting charge is state jail felony theft, which is punishable with from 180 days to two years in jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000. (Learn more about felony charges)
From here, theft charges become felonies, and prison sentences apply.
Do Not Wait to Consult with an Experienced Killeen Criminal Attorney
If you have been charged with theft, Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is an experienced criminal defense attorney with an impressive track record helping clients like you obtain favorable case resolutions that uphold their legal rights. We are on your side, so please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.