Arlington Theft Lawyer
While some states have multiple laws differentiating the various types of theft offenses, the state of Texas has a comprehensive theft law that covers most theft-related offenses. Even a single theft conviction could have devastating effects on both your personal and professional life. If you are facing theft charges, you may need to consult an Arlington theft lawyer.
A theft conviction could result in a permanent stain on your record that could appear on every background check, whether for employment, housing, or credit approval. To avoid these potentially disastrous consequences, you should look to a well-versed defense lawyer for assistance.
When is Taking an Item Considered Illegal?
Texas Penal Code § 31.03 defines theft as occurring when individuals illegally take control of property that does not belong to them, with the intent to deprive the owner of use or possession of the property.
The theft of property is considered illegal when individuals take property:
- Without the consent of the owner
- With the knowledge that another individual stole the property
- From any law enforcement agency with the belief that the property is stolen
There are certain businesses in which sellers might deal in stolen property, such as pawn shops, junkyards, and used car lots. Individuals who work in these types of businesses have certain responsibilities to follow standard procedures upon buying and selling property. If there is evidence of a lack of adherence to those procedures, it may be considered proof of theft. For individuals who have been accused of theft, seeking advice from a theft attorney in Arlington may be the best option to diminish the repercussions.
Determining the Level of Offense
Depending on the type of alleged theft, a person could be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony. The type of offense depends upon the value of the goods, services, or other items that are stolen. Generally, stolen items valued at $2,500 or less constitutes a misdemeanor offense. Theft involving items valued at more than $2,500 constitutes a felony offense.
There are some exceptions to the rules of determining whether an offense is considered a felony or misdemeanor. For example, there are exceptions for offenses involving theft of a firearm. In Texas, the theft of a firearm is a felony offense, regardless of its value.
There are also additional circumstances that could change a misdemeanor charge to a felony theft offense. For example, if the alleged theft involved funds or goods belonging to an elderly person or if the accused has a previous theft conviction, the level of the offense might increase. In some situations, this could cause what normally would be a Class A misdemeanor offense to become a felony offense.
Potential Penalties for Theft in Arlington
The charge an offender might receive for larceny or thievery depends on property value. More specifically, if the value of the property is:
- Less than $100, it is considered a Class C misdemeanor
- Between $100 and $750, it is considered a Class B misdemeanor
- Between $750 and $2,500, it is considered a Class A misdemeanor
- Between $2,500 and $30,000, it is considered a state jail felony
- Between $30,000 and $150,000, it is considered a third-degree felony
- Between $150,000 and $300,000, it is considered a second-degree felony
- More than $300,000 it is considered a first-degree felony
Due to the wide range of charges that could result from a theft charge, there are many possible penalties as well. The penalties may range from a maximum $500 fine and no jail sentence for a Class C misdemeanor conviction to a maximum 99 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for a first-degree felony conviction.
An Arlington Theft Attorney Could Help
Theft charges could be extremely detrimental to your reputation and your future. If your goal is to clear your name and minimize the impact of these charges on your life, you should to set up a consultation with an Arlington theft lawyer.
Getting the legal help that you need when facing theft charges may enable you to develop a strong defense strategy and make the decisions about your case that are best for you. Speak to a dedicated attorney to get started.