Theft is a common crime in Texas, and the court can deliver moderate to severe sentences. If someone accuses you of theft, do not speak to the police. You should find a defense lawyer to represent you instead.
Criminal cases generally become complicated, and Kenny Perez Law can defend clients in the Brownsville area. We know the law and can stand up to an aggressive prosecution. Do not hesitate to reach out to our firm for more information.
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What Is Theft in Texas?
Texas’ general theft law defines theft as the unlawful possession of a piece of property. The criminal has the intent to withhold property from the owner indefinitely. In many cases, a person steals personal items like a TV. Not all instances of theft involve physical belongings.
The law can punish an individual if they use deception to take a victim’s bank account. Someone could steal services like labor as well. Texas has six classifications for theft offenses, and a violation could fall under a Class A, B, or C misdemeanor.
Major theft crimes can be either a state jail, third-degree, second-degree, or first-degree felony.
Types of Theft Crimes
#1. Auto Theft
Different types of illegal activities can fall under the category of theft. One example is auto theft, and around 69,817 reports of stolen cars occur each year. A motor vehicle theft, or grand theft auto, crime happens when someone steals or tries to steal another person’s vehicle.
Many people take an unattended car by hot-wiring or using other tampering methods. Stolen buses and motorcycles count as auto theft as well. A person could take a vehicle for temporary transportation or sell its parts.
A carjacking offense is similar to auto theft since an individual takes a vehicle. However, the activity happens in the presence and knowledge of the victim. Commercial vehicles like semi-trucks can become targets due to the transported goods inside. Of course, the perpetrator might carjack a personal vehicle for temporary transit.
In many situations, the carjacker bumps into the vehicle from behind. When the driver exits to assess the damage, the culprit uses the opportunity to steal the car, truck, or bus. Some people fake an accident in the hopes a driver stops to help. Carjackers then take the vehicle when the victim pulls over.
Carjacking can involve force or the threat of force. As a result, assault accompanies some reported cases.
#3. Livestock Theft
The theft of livestock can have serious consequences. Livestock includes cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, and horses. Agricultural crime remains a problem today, especially in Texas. While cases have declined in recent years, roughly 5,325 animals are reported stolen or missing annually.
Many people go to a ranch to steal cattle to sell at the market. The livestock can be long gone before anyone notices. However, some people take a stolen cow to the bank to use as collateral to borrow money. The agricultural circle has seen a rise in white-collar livestock theft.
#4. Firearm Theft
Many people own guns for protection, hunting, or other reasons. A person might steal a weapon through coercion, breaking into someone’s home, or with other methods.
Kenny Perez Law can represent you no matter the type of theft charges.
The Consequences of Theft in Texas
The penalties for a theft crime depend on the stolen property and its value. For example, if the value is less than $100, a person would face a Class C misdemeanor charge. A first-degree felony applies to crimes of stolen property or services worth more than $300,000.
A few crimes automatically fall under a category regardless of the property’s value. Gun thefts fall under the group of state jail felonies. Certain livestock thefts are either state jail or third-degree felonies. If you stole from an ATM, you automatically would get a second-degree felony.
Penalties for theft usually involve fines and jail time. Imprisonment for a misdemeanor charge ranges from no jail to up to a year. A Class C misdemeanor can lead to no more than $500 in fines. A Class A conviction has a maximum $4,000 fine.
The court could sentence you anywhere between 180 days and two years in prison for a state jail felony. Imprisonment ranges from two years to 99 years based on the severity of the felony. The judge can have you pay no more than $10,000 as a fine.
The penalties move up to the next level of offense if a public servant controlled the property. If the property owner is over 65 or has Medicare, the punishments become harsher.
Why You Should Get a Theft Lawyer
Texas sees roughly 719,041 reported cases of theft per year. The cases include larceny and motor vehicle theft. The police usually find and arrest the culprits responsible for the crimes. However, an innocent could face arrest and need the help of a defense attorney.
Theft lawyers know how to navigate the legal system to avoid harsh punishments. They can potentially get the court to drop the defendant’s charges. Multiple theft defenses exist, and one could apply to your case.
If you believe you had the owner’s permission to borrow the property, your lawyer can find compelling evidence. If you return the item, an attorney can convince the judge to give a lenient sentence.
In some cases, a person steals property under duress. Another individual may have threatened to harm you or a loved one. Other times, the defendant is a victim of entrapment. Entrapment is when someone threatens you to commit a crime with the intent to get you arrested.
Our firm conducts thorough investigations to see what strategies could help you in court.
Our Office Is Ready to Help
Not everyone with theft charges is guilty of the crime. False accusations and misidentification can happen. Offenses like auto theft can lead to dire consequences. You can lose valuable opportunities and your reputation.
If you need a Brownsville theft defense lawyer, Kenny Perez Law can protect you. Our office has the experience and dedication a complex criminal case requires. Contact us at (956) 544-9292 if you have any questions or would like a free consultation with our Brownsville theft lawyers.
Kenny Perez Law
1900 N Exp 77. Suite A,
Brownsville, Texas 78521
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