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Misapplication of fiduciary property is a charge under Texas law that aims to protect the beneficiaries of a trust or estate. Under Texas law, an individual commits this crime by intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly misapplying property they hold as a fiduciary in a manner that involves substantial risk of loss to the property owner. For the risk to be considered substantial, the risk only needs to be more likely than not.

Under Texas law, there are four types of people that are classified as fiduciaries. A fiduciary can be any of the following individuals acting in any of the following roles: A trustee, guardian, administrator, executor, conservator, and receiver are classified as fiduciary. An attorney-in-fact or other agent appointed under a durable power of attorney is also a fiduciary. An officer, manager, employee, or agent carrying out fiduciary functions or any other person acting in a fiduciary capacity is a fiduciary. Any person acting in a fiduciary capacity in any of these roles can be charged with the crime.

In plain language, a fiduciary is a person who must take care of belongings for another person. Depending on the facts of the case at hand and the nature of the parties’ relationship, a number of people may be considered fiduciaries.

Texas Misapplication of Fiduciary Property

If you are under investigation for a financial crime or a white-collar crime such as misapplication of fiduciary property in Texas, it’s imperative you reach out to a skilled criminal defense attorney. For an experienced and competent lawyer, contact The Law Office of Kevin Bennett. Attorney Bennett has years of experience defending clients charged with white-collar crimes. He has what it takes to help you beat the prosecution.

Call him at (512) 476-4626 to set up your first consultation completely free. The Law Office of Kevin Bennett represents people throughout the greater Travis County area including Austin, Del Valle, Bee Cave, Lago Vista and West Lake Hills.

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Information Center

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What Is Misapplying Property?

Misapplying property occurs when a fiduciary handles property in a manner contrary to an agreement they have with the individual, or if the property is held in a way that is in opposition to the law concerning the property.

The defendant does not actually have to be the person that misapplies the property. It is enough that the defendant assisted another person or persons in misapplying the property. Additionally, the fiduciary can be charged with the crime because they failed to act when they had a duty to act.

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Penalties for Misapplication Of Fiduciary Property in Texas

Penalties for the crime of misapplying property can range from a Class C misdemeanor to a first-degree felony. The penalty depends on the value of the property that was misapplied. Under Texas law, the penalties will likely fall in the below ranges:

  • Class C misdemeanor – value of less than $100
  • Class B misdemeanor – value between $100 – $750
  • Class A misdemeanor – value between $750 – $2,500
  • State Jail Felony – value between $2,500 – $30,000
  • Third-degree felony – value between $30,000 – $150,000
  • Second-degree felony – value between $150,000 – $300,000
  • First-degree felony – value of more than $300,000

Additional factors may increase the penalty imposed, such as the victim being over the age of 65. Depending on the degree of the crime committed, the individual who committed the crime will pay a fine and may serve a jail sentence.

  • Class C misdemeanor – fine up to $500
  • Class B misdemeanor – fine up to $2,000 and up to 180 days in jail
  • Class A misdemeanor – fine up to $4,000 and up to one year in jail
  • State Jail Felony – fine up to $10,000 and up to two years in jail
  • Third-degree felony – fine up to $10,000 and up to 10 years in jail
  • Second-degree felony – fine up to $10,000 and up to 20 years in jail
  • First-degree felony – fine up to $10,000 and up to 99 years or life in prison

When the individual who committed the crime is found guilty, it is up to the judge and the prosecutor to determine the exact sentence they will serve for their crime.

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Possible Defenses for Misapplication Of Fiduciary Property in Texas

The prosecution must prove a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is reasonable doubt, an accused individual may be found not guilty and likely will not serve time. Depending on the facts of the case, we may craft many defenses on an accused individual’s behalf.

One of the main defenses we use is the defense of a mistake of fact. The misapplication of fiduciary property is a crime that was developed to punish someone doing things intentionally or knowingly. If the individual who committed the crime did not knowingly commit it, they might not be able to be charged.

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Can The Charge Be Removed?

Once an offense is logged on a criminal record, it may be eligible to be removed eventually. In Texas, a crime can be removed from a criminal record or expunged after a while. This means that when or if employers, landlords, and banks run a background check, they may not see the charge. This can help the charged individual have better chances at home loans, getting jobs, and renting apartments or homes.

In Texas, an individual who has been arrested for a crime, but never officially charged with a crime or found not guilty, can have their record expunged. Once an individual is charged and found guilty, they are no longer eligible for expungement, but they may qualify to request an Order of Nondisclosure, which seals the records in Texas. This would remove the charge from the public domain so banks and future employers may not be able to see it, but law enforcement will still be able to see it. This can come into play if the charged individual commits another crime in the future.

Filing for an expungement can be a difficult and confusing process. Depending on the final charge(s), the individual may have to wait as long as three years to request an expungement. Once an expungement is requested, it is up to the judge’s discretion whether it will be granted or denied. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney increases the chances of successful expungement.

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Additional Resources

Texas Misapplication of Property | Texas Penal Code – The Texas Penal Code contains full language of the statute of the crime of misapplication of property in Texas.

Reporting Elder Abuse in Texas | Texas Adult Protective Services – A government resource for appropriately and safely reporting elder abuse to the proper authorities in Texas.

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Austin Misapplication Of Fiduciary Property Attorney | Travis County, TX

Were you charged with misapplication of fiduciary property? If so, it is important to retain a qualified Travis County defense attorney as soon as possible when under investigation. White collar crimes in Texas carry serious penalties such as stiff fines and imprisonment. A conviction for an offense such as misapplication of fiduciary property has the potential to negatively impact a wide variety of different areas of your life and livelihood. Do not tackle this legal challenge alone.

At The Law Office of Kevin Bennett, Austin property crime attorney Bennett has years of experience representing those facing criminal allegations. He can form a strong defense for your case and protect your rights. If you’re ready to have that experience on your side, call (512) 476-4626 today to schedule a free consultation.

Our offices are located in the heart of Austin, Texas and are also currently accepting clients with cases in Travis County.

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