Theft Defense Lawyers in Dallas

What Does Texas Law Say About Theft Crimes?

As with most crimes, the charges and penalties you will face are dependent on the severity of the offense and whether you have had prior convictions. This is very much the case for theft crimes in the state of Texas.

What are the Different Theft Charges in Texas?

Under Texas law, you have committed the crime of theft if you have "unlawfully appropriated property with the intent to deprive the owner of property." The lowest charge a person can receive in Texas for a theft-related offense is a Class C misdemeanor and continues on to a First Degree felony.

  1. Class C Misdemeanor Theft: This is the appropriate charge if the value of the service or the property stolen totals less than $50. There is no jail time associated with this type of misdemeanor, but the offender may be fined up to $500.
  2. Class B Misdemeanor Theft: This is the appropriate charge if the value of the service or the property stolen totals $50 or more, but less than $500. The other possibility is that the stolen property is a driver’s license or other state-issued identification. This misdemeanor is punishable by no more than 180 days in jail and/or a fine up to $2,000.
  3. Class A Misdemeanor Theft: This is the appropriate charge if the value of the service or the property stolen totals $500 or more, but less than $1,500. This misdemeanor is punishable by no more than one year in jail and/or a fine up to $4,000.
  4. State Jail Felony Theft: This is the appropriate charge if the value of the service or the property stolen totals $1,500 or more, but less than $20,000. The other possibility is that the stolen property is of a certain type (i.e., a firearm, various livestock). This felony is punishable by 180 days-2 years in jail and a fine up to $10,000.
  5. Felony of the Third Degree Theft: This is the appropriate charge if the value of the service or the property stolen totals $20,000 or more, but less than $100,000. Similar to the State Jail Felony Theft classification, the property could also be of a certain type (livestock) to warrant this type of charge. This felony is punishable by 2-10 years of jail time in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and a fine up to $10,000.
  6. Felony of the Second Degree Theft: This is the appropriate charge if the value of the service or the property stolen totals $100,000 or more, but less than $200,000. This felony is punishable by 2-20 years of jail time in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and a fine up to $10,000.
  7. Felony of the First Degree Theft: This is the appropriate charge if the value of the service or the property stolen totals $200,000 or more. This felony is punishable by 5-99 years of jail time in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and a fine up to $10,000.

Does it Matter in Texas If You Have Been Convicted of a Theft Crime Before?

As stated above, prior convictions will play a role in the sentencing related to a theft offense. First, if an individual has one prior conviction for any type of theft, any additional theft committed in Texas by that individual involving an amount less than $50, will result in a Class B misdemeanor rather than a Class C misdemeanor.

Furthermore, if a person has two or more previous convictions related to any level of theft, any additional theft crime (involving an amount less than $1,500) committed by that person will automatically result in the offense being treated as a felony, rather than a misdemeanor.

Civil Liability for a Texas Theft Crime

A person who commits theft in Texas may also be civilly liable to the individual that the crime was committed against. Generally, the victim may recover the cost related to the actual damages for the theft as well as receive an additional $1,000.

Should You Contact an Attorney?

If you have been charged with a theft offense in Texas, contact a qualified defense attorney who will explain your rights and help to create a defense that will ensure that you will receive the best possible outcome for your case. Call The Wilder Firm in Dallas today to schedule a free initial consultation.