Theft Crimes in Texas
The Texas penal code classifies theft crimes into four distinct categories. If you are arrested for theft, you may be charged with one or more of these offenses depending on the nature of the crime.
- Shoplifting is the act of stealing goods from a retail store or other sales establishments. Charges for shoplifting vary depending on the value of the items stolen. Minor shoplifting offenses are usually charged as class C misdemeanors and are punishable by a fine only. If the items stolen are valued at more than $1,500, however, these offenses may result in felony charges and significant possible jail time upon conviction.
- Robbery is the taking of the property of another individual or an establishment by using force or the threat of force. If someone is injured during the robbery, assault charges may also be pressed against the assailant. Armed robbery is charged as aggravated robbery and typically results in a first degree felony charge.
- Burglary is defined under Texas law as the forced entry without permission into a locked or secured building with the intent to take items of value or to injure a person or persons inside the building. If nothing is taken, the charges may be reduced to breaking and entering or vandalism. Burglary charges are felonies; breaking into a residential building generally results in a second degree felony burglary charge.
- Theft of service is the deliberate failure to pay for services rendered by a trades-person or retail establishment. The degree of the charges depends on the monetary value of the services rendered. Minor cases are usually prosecuted as misdemeanor offenses; large-scale theft of service offenses, however, may be charged as felonies and may result in lengthy prison sentences upon conviction.
- If you or someone you care for has been charged with a theft crime in the state of Texas, your first move should be to contact a Houston criminal defense attorney. Before making any statements to police, you should consult with a Houston criminal lawyer to discuss your case and begin the process of preparing your defense.
Both misdemeanor and felony theft convictions can affect your future employ-ability and can cause serious damage to your future prospects. Even misdemeanor convictions can lead to jail time and significant fines; felony charges are even more serious and may result in lengthy prison sentences if you are convicted of these crimes. If someone was injured in the incident that led to your arrest, you may face additional charges that could significantly increase the penalties for the alleged offenses.
Matthew Gallagher is a reputable and established Houston criminal defense lawyer with a solid reputation for success in defending clients on theft charges. By enlisting the help of Matthew Gallagher for your theft case, you can improve your chances of successfully defending against these serious charges in the state of Texas.