Theft

Under Texas law, theft is a serious offense, with the potential for large penalties based on the value of the items that you stole.  In addition to possible jail time and fines, being convicted of a theft offense can result in embarrassment, civil lawsuits and serious consequences in your personal life.

Types of Theft Charges

Theft can happen in a number of ways, and Texas laws have been designed to allow the state to prosecute the different types of theft.  

This includes:
  • Theft by deception: this occurs when you steal something by deceiving someone about its value.  If you know that an item owned by your elderly neighbor is rare and valuable, worth thousands of dollars, and you convince the person to give it to you for $10, that may be considered theft by deception.
  • Theft of services: if you receive a service that you do not pay for, that is a type of theft.  This may occur if you sneak into a movie theater, or if you have someone fix something at your house and refuse to pay for it without justification. You have stolen the person or company’s  services when this happens.
  • Receiving stolen property: it is a crime to buy or receive property that you know to be stolen
  • Passing bad checks: if you know that you have insufficient funds to cover a purchase, but write a check for it anyways, it may be a crime if you do not pay the merchant within 10 days of notification.

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Importantly, under Texas law, it is not required that you actually keep the goods that you stole; you only have to keep it long enough to deprive the owner of its value. If for example, you take your neighbor’s generator without permission during a power outage and return it afterward, you have deprived your neighbor of the generator’s value during the power outage.  You can be charged with theft even though you returned the item.  

Punishment for Theft

In Texas, the punishment for theft is based on the value of the goods or services that were allegedly stolen.  It ranges from a Class B misdemeanor, with a penalty of up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000 to a first-degree felony, with a punishment of between 5 and 99 years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine. You may also face a civil lawsuit from the person or company who you stole from if you are convicted of theft.

Theft Defense Attorneys in Dallas, Texas

If you are convicted of a theft crime, you may be sentenced to prison time, a high penalty, restitution, and community service. You may also lose your job, and have trouble finding future employment. For these reasons, it is crucial that you hire an experienced Dallas theft lawyer to defend you on these charges. Chad West and his team has in-depth knowledge of the law regarding theft crimes, contact us today.