Fort Worth Theft Lawyer
A theft conviction, even if it is a misdemeanor, can have lasting effects on your life. For example, since theft is a crime of moral turpitude or dishonesty, you may find it more difficult to secure employment. A Fort Worth theft lawyer may be able to help you navigate the legal system and explain your options for working towards the most positive resolution possible.
There may be defenses available to you, depending on your circumstances. A detail-oriented criminal lawyer may be able to analyze your circumstances and help determine what defenses are available in your case.
Laws Surrounding Theft in Fort Worth
Under Tex. Pen. Code § 31.03, theft occurs when someone illegally takes property with the intention of depriving the owner of it. The main theft statute cited above also defines theft as occurring in various specific situations. These thefts include:
- Pawnbrokers who fail to record certain information from the seller or obtain a warranty that the property is in the lawful possession of the seller
- Individuals who run a business in buying and selling wrecked motor vehicles and parts who fail to record certain information about the seller, ensure that the vehicles have a clean title, or immediately remove and secure unexpired license plates from the vehicles
- Individuals who purchase a used motor vehicle and fail to report to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles that they did not get a properly executed certificate of title for the vehicle or failed to file the necessary paperwork with the county tax assessor-collector
A Fort Worth theft attorney can explain other situations that may qualify as theft and help determine whether someone was in violation of the law.
Legal Consequences of Unlawfully Taking Property
Theft can be either a felony or misdemeanor offense, depending on the value of the goods allegedly taken. With a few exceptions, if the value of the items is less than $2,500, the charge is a misdemeanor. If the value of the items is $2,500 or more, the charge is usually a felony. One common exception to this general classification system is if the stolen item is a firearm. In this case, the offense is a felony, no matter the value of the firearm.
Another exception that may elevate an offense is the person from whom the goods or funds allegedly were stolen. This might be the case if the owner of the property was an elderly person or a non-profit organization. Since the potential penalties can be quite severe, getting advice from a theft lawyer in Fort Worth may be advisable.
Civil Liability for Taken Property
Under Tex. Civ. Prac. Code § 134.005, the Texas Theft Liability Act, individuals who commit theft also are civilly liable to the owners of the stolen property. This means they may be financially responsible for paying the value of the property to the rightful owner, as well as for paying additional damages of up to $1,000, court costs, and reasonable attorney fees.
Furthermore, when children commit theft, their parents also are civilly liable for the property, although damages are limited to the actual value of the property, or $5,000, whichever is greater, in addition to costs and fees. To understand how civil liability may affect a case, speak with a Fort Worth theft attorney who can help.
How a Fort Worth Theft Attorney Can Help
Theft charges can have serious implications for your future if you do not take measures to defend yourself in the most effective way possible. A Fort Worth theft lawyer may be able to assist you in developing a successful defense strategy in your case.
Getting the legal advice that you need may be a beneficial step for you. It can allow you to even the playing field between you and the government and tell your side of the story. To see how an attorney can help, call today.