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New Criminal Laws in Texas in 2015

As of Sept 1 2015, the State Legislature in Austin, TX, changed the penalties for several of the most common criminal offenses prosecuted in Texas. Many of these new law changes impacted the threshold levels that determine the classification of the offense and the penalties associated with that offense.

If you were charged with a crime impacted by these recent legislative changes, including the crimes of theft, criminal mischief, counterfeit trademarking, insurance fraud, or Medicaid Fraud, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Kevin Bennet is an experienced attorney for theft crimes in Austin, Texas, and the surrounding areas in Travis County, TX. He also represents college students at the University of Texas at Austin after an arrest for a crime committed on campus or off campus.

Theft

The offense of theft occurs when someone takes the property of another, with the intention to deprive the owner of that property, without permission.

Changes in theft laws are listed below:

Criminal Charge Previous Monetary Amount Monetary Amount for New Laws Now Effective
Misdemeanor C$50 and under$100 and under
Misdemeanor B$50-$500$100-$750
Misdemeanor A$500-$1,500$750-$2,500
State Jail Felony $1,500-$20,000$2,500-30,000
Third Degree Felony$20,000-$100,000$30,000-$150,000
Second Degree Felony $100,000-$200,000$150,000-$300,000
First Degree Felony $200,000+$300,000+

Criminal Mischief

Texas Penal Code Section 28.03 states that the crime of criminal mischief occurs when someone intentionally damages or destroys the property of another and causes an inconvenience to the owner.

Common examples of criminal mischief offense prosecuted in Austin, TX, include keying a car, spray painting others property, and destroying school property.

Changes in Criminal Mischief Laws are listed below:

Criminal ChargePrevious Monetary Amount for Damages Monetary Amount for New Laws Now Effective
Misdemeanor C$50 and under$100 and under
Misdemeanor B$50-$500$100-$750
Misdemeanor A$500-$1,500$750-$2,500
State Jail Felony$1,500-$20,000$2,500-30,000
Third Degree Felony$20,000-$100,000$30,000-$150,000
Second Degree Felony$100,000-$200,000$150,000-$300,000
First Degree Felony $200,000+$300,000+

 

new laws effect criminal mischief statutes

 

In order to charge someone with criminal mischief the police must show that the accused did not have the right to destroy the property. The law enforcement officer must also show that the accused intended to destroy or damage the property physically.


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Counterfeit Trademarking

The offense of counterfeit trademarking is stated in Texas Penal Code 32.23. A person commits this offense when they intentionally manufacture, display, advertise, distribute, offer, sale, or possess with the intent to sell a counterfeit mark.

A counterfeit mark is a mark that is identical to or substantially indistinguishable from a protected mark which is not authorized by the owner of the protected mark. A protected mark has to be registered with the secretary of state, the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Changes in Counterfeit Trademark Laws are listed below:

Criminal Charge Previous Retail Value for item with Counterfeit Mark Retail Value for item with Counterfeit Mark Now Effective
Misdemeanor C$20 and under$100 and under
Misdemeanor B$20-$500$100-$750
Misdemeanor A$500-$1,500$750-$2,500
State Jail Felony$1,500-$20,000$2,500-30,000
Third Degree Felony$20,000-$100,000$30,000-$150,000
Second Degree Felony$100,000-$200,000$150,000-$300,000
First Degree Felony $200,000+$300,000+

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Insurance Fraud
new criminal law effect fraud

 

A person commits the offense of insurance fraud when they intentionally defraud, deceive, or mislead an insurer. It is a crime to submit false or misleading information to an insurer regarding a claim or an application for an insurance policy.

The defendant also committed insurance fraud if they are intending to defraud the insurer and receive a benefit in connection with a claim for payment.

Changes in Insurance Fraud Laws are listed below:

Criminal Charge Previous Monetary Amount for Insurance Fraud Monetary Amount for New Laws Now Effective
Misdemeanor C$50 and under$100 and under
Misdemeanor B$20-$500$100-$750
Misdemeanor A$500-$1,500$750-$2,500
State Jail Felony$1,500-$20,000$2,500-30,000
Third Degree Felony$20,000-$100,000$30,000-$150,000
Second Degree Felony$100,000-$200,000$150,000-$300,000
First Degree Felony $200,000+$300,000+

Possible defenses a criminal defense attorney could bring up would be making sure prosecutors have proven the accused’s intent to defraud.


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Medicaid Fraud

Texas Penal Code Section 35A.01 defines the term “Medicaid fraud”- as knowingly making or causing a false statement to be made to permit a person to receive a benefit or payment under the Medicaid program that is not authorized under the law.

It is also an offense if a person knowingly conceals or fails to disclose information that permits a person to receive a benefit or payment under the Medicaid program that is not authorized or that is greater than the benefit or payment that is authorized.

Crimes for Medicaid Fraud can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony offense depending on the amount involved in the fraud.

Changes in Medicaid Fraud Laws are listed below:

Criminal Charge Previous Monetary Amount for Medicaid FraudMonetary Amount for New Laws Now Effective
Misdemeanor C$50 and under$100 and under
Misdemeanor B$20-$500$100-$750
Misdemeanor A$500-$1,500$750-$2,500
State Jail Felony$1,500-$20,000$2,500-30,000
Third Degree Felony$20,000-$100,000$30,000-$150,000
Second Degree Felony$100,000-$200,000$150,000-$300,000
First Degree Felony $200,000+$300,000+

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Finding an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Austin, TX

An experienced criminal defense attorney at The Law Offices of Kevin Bennett will investigate every detail of your case to explore possible defenses. With these recent changes in criminal laws, it can be hard to figure out the potential penalties you are facing. Like with any criminal charge, your penalties depend on your criminal history, aggravating factors and particular details of your individual case.

Kevin Bennett is aware of these changes in the law and will work diligently to resolve all matters of your case. If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges in Travis County, contact The Law Offices of Kevin Bennett at (512) 476-4626 today for a free case evaluation.

This page was last updated on 11/18/16

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