Theft Related Offenses

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A Houston criminal defense lawyer with experience fighting theft, shoplifting, robbery, and burglary allegations.

A Houston criminal defense lawyer for theft and robbery offenses.

Charges involving theft are very serious for several reasons. First, a conviction for theft can have devastating consequences on your permanent criminal record because they are considered “crimes of moral turpitude.”

Theft crimes are viewed very negatively by employers, licensing boards, and government agencies performing background checks.

Our firm will help you to mitigate the impact of theft charges and fight for your defense.

Second, there is a misconception involving theft that it is only a minor offense, such as shoplifting or petty theft.  However, Texas law is very putative for theft convictions;  a theft of even $50 is a Class B misdemeanor.

If charged with theft you need an experienced criminal Defense Attorney – let LeGrande Law fight to keep a theft conviction off your record.

Theft Offenses Encompasses a Variety of Offenses, Including:

  • Burglary
  • Robbery
  • Fraud
  • Shoplifting
  • Forgery
  • Automobile theft
  • Identity theft
  • Receiving stolen property
  • Unauthorized use of a motor vehicle
  • Theft by check
  • Theft of service

Theft under the Texas Penal Code

[Texas Penal Code Section 31.03]

To unlawfully appropriate property with intent to deprive the owner of property.

This simple definition is full of loaded words; it is helpful to break down the definition of theft under the statute so that it is more easily understood.  The first step in understanding charges of theft, robbery or burglary is to understand what the elements of the crime are.

Unlawfully Appropriate:

(1) it is without the owner’s effective consent;

  • Effective Consent means the consent is given by a person legally authorized to act for the owner. Consent is not effective if:

(A) induced by deception or coercion;

Deception is defined as:

(1) creating or confirming by words or conduct a false impression of law or fact that is likely to affect the judgment of another in the transaction, and that the actor does not believe to be true;

(2) failing to correct a false impression of law or fact that is likely to affect the judgment of another in the transaction, that the actor previously created or confirmed by words or conduct, and that the actor does not now believe to be true;

(3) preventing another from acquiring information likely to affect his judgment in the transaction;

(4) selling or otherwise transferring or encumbering property without disclosing a lien, security interest, adverse claim, or other legal impediment to the enjoyment of the property, whether the lien, security interest, claim, or impediment is or is not valid, or is or is not a matter of official record; or

(5) promising performance that is likely to affect the judgment of another in the transaction and that the actor does not intend to perform or knows will not be performed, except that failure to perform the promise in issue without other evidence of intent or knowledge is not sufficient proof that the actor did not intend to perform or knew the promise would not be performed.

(B) given by a person the actor knows is not legally authorized to act for the owner;

(C) given by a person who by reason of youth, mental disease/defect, or intoxication is known by the actor to be unable to make reasonable property dispositions;

(D) given solely to detect the commission of an offense; or

(E) given by a person who by reason of advanced age is known by the actor to have a diminished capacity to make informed and rational decisions about the reasonable disposition of property.

(2) the property is stolen and the actor appropriates the property knowing it was stolen by another; or

(3) property in the custody of any law enforcement agency was explicitly represented by any law enforcement agent to the actor as being stolen and the actor appropriates the property believing it was stolen by another.

Deprives:

(1) to withhold property from the owner permanently or for so extended a period of time that a major portion of the value or enjoyment of the property is lost to the owner;

(2) to restore property only upon payment of reward or other compensation; or

(3) to dispose of property in a manner that makes recovery of the property by the owner unlikely.

Misdemeanor Theft

– A theft is a Class A Misdemeanor if the value of the property stolen is $500 or more but less than $1,500;

– A theft is a Class B Misdemeanor if:

(A) the value of the property stolen is:

(i) $50 or more but less than $500; or

(ii) $20 or more but less than $500 and the defendant obtained the property by issuing or passing a check or similar sight order in a manner described by Section 31.06;

(B) the value of the property stolen is less than:

(i) $50 and the defendant has previously been convicted of any grade of theft; or

(ii) $20, the defendant has previously been convicted of any grade of theft, and the defendant obtained the property by issuing or passing a check or similar sight order in a manner described by Section 31.06; or

(C) the property stolen is a driver’s license, commercial driver’s license, or personal identification certificate issued by this state or another state;

– A Theft is a Class C Misdemeanor if the property stolen is less than $50; or the property stolen is less than $20 and the defendant obtained the property by issuing or passing a check or similar sight order in a manner described by Section 31.06.

Felony Theft

A more serious theft is a felony, with punishments including significant jail time. Due to the frequency with which theft is committed by repeat offenders, potential penalties are especially severe for a second or third conviction.

– A theft is a 1st Degree Felony if the value of the property stolen is $200,000 or more.

– A theft is a 2nd Degree Felony the value of the property stolen is $100,000 or more but less than $200,000; or

  • It is also a 2nd degree felony if the value of the property stolen is less than $200,000 and the property stolen is an automated teller machine or the contents or components of an automated teller machine.

– A theft is a 3rd degree felony if the value of the property stolen is $20,000 or more but less than $100,000, or the property is:

  • Cattle, horses, or exotic livestock or exotic fowl as defined by Section 142.001 Agriculture Code, stolen during a single transaction and having an aggregate value of less than $100,000; or
  • 10 or more head of sheep, swine, or goats stolen during a single transaction and having an aggregate value of less than $100,000.

– A theft is a State Jail Felony if the value of the property stolen is $1,500 or more but less than $20,000, or the property is less than 10 head of sheep, swine, or goats or any part thereof under the value of $20,000;

  • Regardless of value, the property is stolen from the person of another or from a human corpse or grave, including property that is a military grave marker;
  • The property stolen is a firearm, as defined by Section 46.01;
  • The value of the property stolen is less than $1,500 and the defendant has been previously convicted two or more times of any grade of theft;
  • The property stolen is an official ballot or official carrier envelope for an election; or
  • The value of the property stolen is less than $20,000 and the property stolen is:
    • aluminum;
    • bronze;
    • copper; or
    • brass.

Enhancement of Theft Offenses

An offense is increased to the next higher category of offense if it is shown on the trial of the offense that:

(1) the actor was a public servant at the time of the offense and the property appropriated came into the actor’s custody, possession, or control by virtue of his status as a public servant;

(2) the actor was in a contractual relationship with government at the time of the offense and the property appropriated came into the actor’s custody, possession, or control by virtue of the contractual relationship;

(3) the owner of the property appropriated was at the time of the offense:

(A) an elderly individual; or

(B) a nonprofit organization;

(4) the actor was a Medicare provider in a contractual relationship with the federal government at the time of the offense and the property appropriated came into the actor’s custody, possession, or control by virtue of the contractual relationship; or

(5) during the commission of the offense, the actor intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly:

(A) caused a fire exit alarm to sound or otherwise become activated;

(B) deactivated or otherwise prevented a fire exit alarm or retail theft detector from sounding; or

(C) used a shielding or deactivation instrument to prevent or attempt to prevent detection of the offense by a retail theft detector.

Burglary

Burglary is committed by entering into a building, portion of a building, or habitation with the intent to commit theft, assault, or a felony in that location.

It is important to note that Burglary can be committed in ways that are not commonly known, for example, burglary can be committed by entering with the intent to commit a felony such as murder or arson.

Robbery

 A person commits robbery if, in the course of committing theft (and with intent to obtain or maintain control of the property), he:

(1) intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another; or

(2) intentionally or knowingly threatens or places another in fear of imminent bodily injury or death.

An offense under this section is a 2nd degree felony.

Aggravated Robbery

A person commits an offense if he commits robbery (as defined above) and he:

(1) causes serious bodily injury to another;

(2) uses or exhibits a deadly weapon; or

(3) causes bodily injury to another person or threatens or places another person in fear of imminent bodily injury or death, if the other person is:

(A) 65 years of age or older; or

(B) a disabled person (an individual with a mental, physical, or developmental disability who is substantially unable to protect himself from harm).

An offense under this section is a 1st degree Felony.

Houston criminal defense lawyer Tristan LeGrande can help!

Being charged with a theft offense is a serious criminal matter requiring steadfast representation by a well versed criminal defense attorney who is ready to fight for your rights in the court of law. Tristan LeGrande is ready to help. You can reach the LeGrande Law office by calling 281-684-3500. Be sure to schedule a time to meet with Houston criminal defense lawyer Tristan LeGrande.

Theft Crimes | Houston Criminal Defense Attorney

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