(512) 476-4626

 

Theft Attorney in Austin Dedicated to Your Defense

Theft may seem like a rather minor crime when compared to violent or sex crimes, but the consequences of a theft conviction are serious and can haunt you for the rest of your life. In addition to fines, civil penalties and the possibility of jail time, theft crimes are considered crimes of “moral turpitude.” That is, they are crimes that reflect on one’s character.

A conviction for a theft crime, even a misdemeanor shoplifting charge, can severly limit your opportunities for employment, can cause you to be denied admission to college or graduate school, and can make it difficult to rent a home or an apartment.

If you have been arrested or charged with theft in Texas, whether it be shoplifting, theft by check or armed robbery, it is critical that you take the necessary steps to protect your future. If you have been arrested or are facing theft charges in Austin, TX, contact Austin theft defense lawyer Kevin Bennett for a free consultation to discuss your options.

A good criminal defense lawyer will be familiar with Texas theft law, possible defenses against a theft charge and will understand the best way to proceed. Whether you are facing a felony or misdemeanor theft charge, Kevin Bennett is a theft lawyer in Austin who understands the importance of keeping a theft charge off of your criminal record.

Definition of Theft in Texas-Texas Penal Code Section 31.03

The definition of theft in Texas can be found under Texas Penal Code Section 31.03. Theft is generally defined as the unlawful taking of another person’s property without that person’s consent. Theft offenses also occur when someone accepts or receives property he or she knows to be stolen.

Common Types of Theft Crimes in Texas

  • Theft – Theft is generally defined as the intentional and unlawful taking of another person’s property without that person’s consent.
  • Theft by Check – Taking property from its owner by issuing or passing a check when that person knew or should have known that there were not sufficient funds for the payment in full of the check as well as all of the other checks that the person had outstanding at the time.
  • Shoplifting – Shoplifting is generally defined as the theft of goods or property from a store, retailer or merchant. You can be charged with theft by either taking or removing items out of a store or business with the deliberate intention of not paying for the full value of the item.
  • Issuance of a Bad Check – Writing a check on a closed account or on an account that has insufficient funds to cover the purchase. Writing a check on a closed account or writing a bad check and failing to reimburse the merchant within ten (10) days of notification can both be considered evidence of theft under Texas law.
  • Buying or Accepting Stolen Property – If you take possession of something when you know the person you are accepting it from is not the rightful owner you can be charged with theft.
  • Theft of Services – In Texas, you can be charged with theft of services, if with the intent to avoid payment, you obtain a service by means of threat or deception. Theft of service charges can also be filed  if you agree to make payment in exchange for a service, and then refuse to pay for the service once it’s rendered.
  • Theft by Check – it is theft for a person to take property from its owner by issuing or
    passing a check when that person knew or should have known that there were not
    sufficient funds on deposit with the bank for the payment in full of the check
    as well as all of the other checks that the person had outstanding at the time.

Under Texas Penal Code Section 31.03, theft crimes can be classified as either a misdemeanor or felony and the classification and penalties faced are usually based on the value of what was allegedly taken.  A theft case can also be enhanced depending on whether someone has previously been convicted for theft.

Penalties for Theft in Texas-Texas Penal Code Section 31.03

Less than $50, or less than $20 if by check

  • Class C misdemeanor
  • A fine of not more than $500

$50 or more but less than $500, or $20 or more but less than $500 if by check

  • Class B misdemeanor
  • Not more than 180 days in a county jail and/or
  • a fine of not more than $2,000

$500 or more but less than $1,500

  • Class A misdemeanor
  • Not more than 1 year in a county jail and/or
  • a fine of not more than $4,000

$1,500 or more but less than $20,000

  • State jail felony
  • 180 days to 2 years in a state jail and/or
  • a fine of not more than $10,000

$20,000 or more but less than $100,000

  • Third-degree felony
  • 2 to 10 years in a state prison and/or
  • a fine of not more than $10,000

$100,000 or more but less than $200,000

  • Second-degree felony
  • 2 to 20 years in a state prison and/or
  • a fine of not more than $10,000

$200,000 or more

  • First-degree felony
  • 5 to 99 years in a state prison and/or
  • a fine of not more than $10,000

Collateral Consequences of a Theft Conviction

As previously mentioned, there are also collateral consequences for a theft conviction such as difficulty in finding employment, possible disqualification from student loans, difficulty in leasing an apartment or obtaining a loan as well as the stigma of a theft conviction on your permanent criminal record. Although any criminal offense on someone’s criminal record can limit their opportunities, a theft case on someone’s criminal record can be an automatic disqualification for many employers.

Austin Theft Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with theft, you are probably worried, scared or unsure what to do. You may also be wondering what penalties or punishment you face if convicted. If you have have an Austin or Travis County theft case, please call the Law Office of Kevin Bennett at (512) 476-4626. You may also contact the Law Office of Kevin Bennett through email.

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The Law Office of Kevin Bennett