Under Texas Penal Code Section 31.03(a), a crime of theft involves unlawfully appropriating property without the owner’s consent. Whether the theft is in the form of shoplifting retail merchandise, swindling, embezzlement, stealing from a person, or something else, a conviction for theft could come with severe penalties. If convicted of a theft crime, the penalty may be as minor as a fine or as extreme as life imprisonment in rare cases.
Depending on the severity of the theft charge you are facing, your case could end with a misdemeanor or felony on your criminal record. Do not risk defending a theft charge without having an aggressive San Antonio theft defense lawyer on your side. When you partner with Sophia Martinez Law, you will have your theft charge personally defended by former Assistant District Attorney Sophia C. Martinez.
Former Assistant District Attorney with Experience Fighting Theft Charges
When an individual takes property that does not belong to them, it is considered theft. Although there are many versions of theft, they are all based on the premise of taking something from another person or entity without their consent and with the intent of keeping it. Those charged with theft may be accused of committing various crimes, as theft can manifest itself in many ways, such as burglary of a vehicle, shoplifting, and buying or receiving stolen property.
Depending on the value of the stolen items, the criminal history of the individual, and other facts, those charged with theft may face penalties for a misdemeanor conviction or for a felony conviction, in addition to a fine or incarceration. The best way to position yourself for a favorable outcome is to hire a San Antonio theft lawyer like Sophia Martinez.
Attorney Sophia Martinez can help alleviate the many stresses of working through the legal system, allowing you to focus on what is most important: your freedom. Through in-depth conversations and constant negotiation with prosecutors, Sophia can work toward having charges lessened or even dismissed in some situations.
Types of Property Crimes a Skilled Theft Lawyer Can Defend in San Antonio, Texas
The following are some examples of the top property crimes in San Antonio:
- Theft: Theft is the most basic of all property crimes. One commits theft by merely taking something that is not their own. The primary factor in classifying a criminal act as theft is proving that the individual did not have the owner’s permission to take possession of the item.
- Robbery: Robbery has the same basis as theft, but the only varying factor is that immediate violence or the threat of immediate violence is present.
- Burglary: Burglary occurs when an individual enters a building or vehicle with the intent of committing theft. The law defines “entering” as putting any body part inside of a building or intruding by placing a physical object that’s connected to the body. Penalties vary depending on if the building was occupied or not.
Under Texas law, the property does not have to be kept in order for it to be considered theft. A person only needs to have the stolen property long enough to deprive the owner of its value. If someone were to take something and then return it for a reward, that would be considered theft in Texas.
What are the Penalties for Theft Crimes in Texas?
Since theft crimes in Texas vary so widely (from a bounced check to shoplifting to purchasing stolen property and everything in between), the penalties range drastically as well. Possible penalties for theft in Texas, according to Chapter 31 of the Texas Penal Code, are as follows:
- Class A ($750 – less than $2,500 stolen): No more than a year in jail and $4,000 in fines.
- Class B ($100 – less than $750 stolen): No more than 180 days in jail and $2,000 in fines.
- First-degree Felony ($300,000 and more stolen): 5 to 99 years in prison and/or no more than $10,000 in fines.
- Second-degree Felony ($150,000 – less than $300,000 stolen): 2 to 25 years in prison and/or no more than $10,000 in fines.
- Third-degree Felony ($30,000 – less than $150,000 stolen): 2 to 10 years in prison and/or no more than $10,000 in fines.
- State Jail Felony ($2,500 – less than $30,000 stolen): 180 days to 2 years in state jail and/or no more than $10,000 in fines.
Although any criminal offense on a person’s record could interfere with their ability to find stable employment, many employers are even more averse to hiring people with convictions for theft in particular. Having a conviction for a theft crime on your criminal record could make you seem dishonest from an employer’s point of view. It is always better to fight a charge for theft by partnering with an experienced criminal defense attorney who has the skills to defend your case with efficiency.
Contact a Top-Rated Theft Lawyer Today for Help with a Theft Charge
In order for a charge for theft to stick, the prosecution must be able to prove or show that a theft crime actually occurred. Often, the key to defending a charge for theft is proving a lack of intent or an unlawful search and seizure. Since there are so many possibilities and the repercussions can be so severe, it is essential that you contact a criminal defense attorney right away if you are facing a charge for theft in Texas. The sooner you can bring your case to an attorney, the sooner they can begin building a defense to help you fight your theft charge.
Without competent legal representation on your side, it is often easier for the prosecution to prove their case. San Antonio lawyer Sophia Martinez is knowledgeable of the specifics of property crimes in Texas and can help you construct a solid defense. With over 25 years of legal experience assisting the accused during their fight for justice, Sophia Martinez Law is ready and willing to go to work for you. Contact us today at (210) 981-3267 for a free case evaluation.