Rely on the Experienced Petty Theft Lawyers in Dallas, TX
Accused of petty theft in Texas? You may wonder what your options are. Don’t worry – attorneys from Spangler Law may be able to help. Call today!
What Is Petty Theft in Texas?
Petty theft occurs when someone unlawfully appropriates property belonging to another to permanently deprive the owner of the property. When the stolen property is worth less than a set amount, it is considered petty theft and is misdemeanor theft. Shoplifting is the term used to describe the crime of stealing goods from a business or shop. While some states have separate shoplifting laws and punishments, others have petty theft statutes that cover organized retail theft or shoplifting.
Being detained for a theft violation might be worrying, especially if you don’t know what will happen in the following days, weeks, or months. It’s a good idea to be aware of the possible consequences of theft charges in Texas before you assume the worst.
Although petty theft is misdemeanor theft, if you are convicted of theft charges, it is recorded on your criminal record and can have severe repercussions in your future. Consult an experienced criminal defense attorney in Dallas, Texas, to determine your legal options.
Various forms of misdemeanor theft
The value of the allegedly stolen item is a critical factor in determining theft penalties under current Texas law. The penalty for theft reflects the monetary worth that the law tries to assign to the offense.
A theft is classified according to the value of the property stolen. If the total value of the stolen property does not exceed $2,500 and there are no previous convictions, it is considered petty theft. There are, however, exceptions when firearms and livestock are involved.
Class C Misdemeanor Theft
Theft of items valued under $100 is a Class C Misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $500, but with no jail time. This is the least serious type of theft in Texas.
Class B Misdemeanor Theft
Class B misdemeanor theft occurs in Texas in the following circumstances:
- When the stolen property is worth $50 or more but less than $750
- The stolen property is worth less than $100, but the defendant has committed more than two theft offenses
- A driver’s license or other identification document was stolen.
This offense carries a maximum fine of $2,000 and a maximum 6-month jail sentence.
Class A Misdemeanor Theft
Anything worth $750 to $2500 in goods or services is considered a misdemeanor theft. For this crime, the maximum sentence is a year in jail and/or a fine of $4000.
Anything valued over $2,500 is considered a felony punishable by more than one year in prison. Although petty theft isn’t a felony in Texas, you may need a theft defense attorney to help you understand the consequences of theft charges.
Can a Petty Theft Crime Become a Felony?
An offense is typically a misdemeanor if the stolen property is under $2,500. The following circumstances may result in the offense being automatically upgraded to a felony:
- Property or services valued at more than $2,500 but less than $30,000 are stolen
- Property valued at less than $2,500 was stolen, and it was the defendant’s third or subsequent theft.
- The property is stolen from another person, such as in an armed robbery, from a human corpse, or from a grave
- The property stolen is a firearm, an election ballot, livestock, or metals.
Fines and imprisonment ranging from 180 days to two years, or both, may be imposed for felony theft charges in state jails. Defendants who have previously been convicted of a felony will be bumped up to a third-degree felony if they used or displayed a deadly weapon during the commission of the offense.
What Is the Statute of Limitation for Petty Theft in Texas?
The clock starts on the statute for theft crimes from the date the crime was allegedly committed. The shoplifting statute of limitations is generally set at two years. The same applies to all theft crimes if the value of the stolen property is less than $2,500.
Various Theft-Related Crimes
Other crimes about theft are listed in Texas statutes, including:
- Shoplifting: Taking items out of a store with the intention of not paying the full price for them. The act of shoplifting can also involve removing the tag from an expensive item and replacing it with a less expensive one.
- Bad checks: Checks that are used to pay for items on closed accounts, or checks that do not cover the check amount, are considered bad checks. A bounced check is evidence of theft if it is not refunded to the merchant within 10 days of the check bouncing.
- General theft: This refers to the taking of an item belonging to someone else without their permission.
- Buying or accepting stolen property: Taking possession of an item from someone you know is not the rightful owner.
Do You Need A Lawyer for Petty Theft?
Theft convictions can have additional long-term effects aside from jail time or significant fines. Your job prospects could be adversely affected if you have a theft conviction on your record. You don’t have to face it alone.
Even though you might be tempted to take on the role of your advocate, it’s always best to seek the guidance of a skilled criminal defense lawyer who can protect your rights. Depending on the specifics of your case, your lawyer will determine the appropriate course of action. An experienced lawyer can provide you with information, address your concerns, and build confidence.
If you are facing a misdemeanor theft charge, a Texas theft lawyer can help you get the best possible outcome for your case. Contact Spangler Law to schedule a free consultation today!