Theft is defined by Texas law as permanently depriving someone else of the possession of property without his or her consent or expressed permission.
Texas law punishes theft of property, services, trade secrets, cargo, petroleum products, and other various items and intellectual property.
If you’re facing a theft charge in Texas, there are a variety of possible strategies that a knowledgeable criminal lawyer may be able to use to fighting your charge.
You may claim rightful ownership of the property in question. If enough evidence can support your claim, charges may be dropped against you.
Mistake of Fact
This defense may work in your case if you possessed the item but were not aware that it was in your possession. For example, perhaps you were shopping and took a bag from your cart without realizing the item was inside. Another example is if you borrowed an item from someone but forgot to give it back.
For a charge to apply, you must have acted with intent. If no intent can be proven, no case can be brought against you.
This defense may work to reduce your charges, but will not eliminate them. You may receive probation instead of jail time, for example.
Lack of False Pretenses
You may have been charged with acting under false pretenses to commit theft. If your attorney can prove that you were not acting under false pretenses, you may receive a reduced sentence or your case could be dismissed.
Your defense attorney may use this defense if you were set up for the crime of theft. Even if you technically committed the crime, your charges may be significantly reduced – or even dropped or dismissed – with this defense.
This defense can be used if someone forces you to commit theft under the threat of imminent injury to you or your family members.
Additionally, some types of theft crimes have specific defenses, which your attorney will know. It’s worth a free consultation to find out what your options are.
Why You Should Get Help from a Qualified Texas Theft Attorney
Penalties for theft in Texas depend on the value of the items in question. The lowest charge of a Class C misdemeanor for theft of up to $100 in property will result in a $500 fine. However, felony charges apply for thefts of property valued at $2,500 or more. A felony conviction may result in incarceration and steep fines. It will also affect your ability to find work, secure loans, own firearms, and apply for certain licenses.
An experienced Texas criminal defense attorney will construct a solid defense to fight against your charges. Even for smaller acts of theft, a strong defense will protect you from steeper penalties for any future convictions. Call today for a free case review. We will get to work right away on building a defense to your theft charges.
About the Author:
After getting his Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center, Jeff Hampton began practicing criminal law in Texas in 2005. Before becoming a defense attorney, he worked as a prosecutor for the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office – experience he uses to anticipate and cast doubt on the arguments that will be used against his clients. Over the course of his career, he has helped countless Texans protect their rights and get the best possible outcome in their criminal cases. His skill has earned him recognition from the National Trial Lawyers (Top 100 Trial Lawyers) and Avvo (Top Attorney in Criminal Defense, Top Attorney in DUI & DWI, 10/10 Superb Rating), and he is Lead Counsel rated.