Theft can come in many forms – shoplifting, taking something from someone else’s yard, writing a check that you know will not clear the bank, or refusing to pay and agreed fee for a service that was performed. Theft can be for a few dollars, or millions of dollars. Technically, the Texas Penal Code defines theft as when someone “unlawfully appropriates property with intent to deprive the owner of property.” This can come in the form of:
- Theft of Service
- Theft of Trade Secrets
- Theft By Check
- Theft of a Vehicle
- Organized Retail Theft
- Misdemeanor Theft/Felony Theft
- Credit card theft
And additional theft related offenses, including:
- Unauthorized use of a vehicle
- Tampering with Identification numbers
- Possession, manufacture, or distribution of certain instruments used to commit retail theft
One of the most common theft charges stems from retail theft. According to the Jack L. Hayes International 29th Annual Retail Theft Survey, more than 438,032 shoplifters and dishonest employees were apprehended in 2016 by 23 major retailers. Many of these are young adults that did not go into the store with the intention to steal but due to peer pressure or wanting to be accepted and have something they can’t afford, they attempt to take it. We are often hired by clients who are model students or “all-American kids” that had a momentary lapse in judgement and tried to steal something from a retailer. As a general rule, these are not career criminals. However, the law in Texas takes theft very seriously. And a conviction for theft can permanently damage someone’s ability to get a job anywhere else. Most business owners will not hire someone with a theft conviction.
And in Texas, the value of the property you are accused of stealing determines the penalty. The more valuable the property, the steeper the penalty. It ranges from a Class C ticket (which could still haunt you and should be taken very seriously) all the way to a first degree felony.
It is extremely important that you seek legal council from an experience criminal attorney if you have been accused of theft. Even when the evidence is strong against you, there are often avenues and possibilities for a dismissal.
Stephen Handy is a Fort Worth criminal defense attorney that can help you if you are accused of a criminal offense of any kind. He has over 20 years of criminal law experience and has successfully represented clients accused of theft and other criminal offenses. He works tirelessly on behalf of his clients and treats them with the utmost respect. He is ethical in all his dealings with officers, prosecutors, judges and clients and is highly respected among his peers. If you have been accused of a criminal offense, please call The Law Office of Stephen Handy at 817-284-2263.