Gale Law Group
525 Clifford Street
Corpus Christi, TX 78404

Theft FAQ

Like most states, Texas classifies each theft crime according to the value of the property or service that has been stolen. In some cases, it will be classified according to the property itself. Most theft crimes are grouped together into a single offense. it’s described as the “unlawful appropriation of property with the intent to deprive the owner of that property.” This is a deceptively simple explanation, because it depends on whether the appropriation is considered “unlawful.”

thief stealing mobile phone

Here are some common questions that are asked about theft in Texas.

What is considered a theft crime in the State of Texas?

A theft crime in the State of Texas is any criminal offense that involves the taking of someone else’s property without his or her consent. It can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the following circumstances:

  • The value of the stolen property.
  • The presence of a previous criminal record.
  • Whether a weapon was used in the theft crime.

Be sure to speak to a qualified attorney for more information.

What is considered “unlawful appropriation?”

The Texas Penal Code lists three ways that appropriation can be considered unlawful:

  • It is done without the owner’s consent.
  • The person appropriating the property knows that it was stolen by someone else.
  • The property is in the custody of any law enforcement agency and informed the actor that it was stolen after he or she appropriates it.

The term consent is broadly defined in Texas State Law and can include someone who has been legally authorized by the owner.

What is considered petty theft in Texas?

While there’s no such thing as petty theft in the State of Texas, there are misdemeanor theft offenses that are considered to equivalents to those types of crimes. A Class C misdemeanor involves any property that’s valued under $50, while a Class B misdemeanor involves any property that’s valued between $50 and $500. A Class A misdemeanor involves the theft of property that’s valued between $500 and $1,500.

What is considered grand theft in the State of Texas?

If you steal something that’s worth more than $500, it’s considered grand theft in the State of Texas. It’s typically charged as a felony and will lead to more than a year of jail time if you’re convicted.

What kind of penalties can I face if I’m convicted?

If you’re convicted of theft in Texas, you could face several kinds of legal penalties. Some of them can include but mat not be limited to:

  • Time in prison
  • Court fees
  • Fines
  • Restitution payments
  • Probation
  • Community service

The kind and severity of your penalties will depend on the theft offense of which you are convicted.

Can a theft charge be enhanced?

A theft enhancement in Texas can apply in the following circumstances:

  • It was committed by a public servant or public official who used his or her status to perform the theft.
  • It was committed against the government by a contractor.
  • It was committed against an elderly individual or nonprofit organization.
  • It was committed against the government by a Medicare provider.

Be sure to speak to a qualified attorney for more information.

What is adjudication and deferred disposition?

Deferred adjudication is an alternative to sentencing that will allow you to avoid conviction. The judge can postpone or defer a guilty verdict for a certain period of time, where you will be placed under community supervision or probation. If you complete it successfully, your case will be dismissed. Deferred disposition can be used for Class C misdemeanors and is similar to an adjudication (except you won’t be required to be on formal probation). Instead, you will be given certain goals that you need to complete in a short amount of time. If you achieve them, your case will be dismissed.

Can I be arrested if I didn’t actually steal anything?

You can be arrested for theft in Texas before you had the chance to steal something out of a store or property. While the theft didn’t actually occur, you could still be charged for shoplifting if there’s proof (such as camera footage) that you intended to steal it from the owner.

What can I do if I’m falsely accused of theft in Texas?

If you have been falsely accused of theft in Texas, the best thing you can do is hire a qualified attorney. This person will be able to gather evidence that will prove your innocence, which is important if your case goes to trial. Even if you have been taken into custody, you have the right to an attorney. At Gale Law Group, we have a team of people who can help you with your case.

If you’re looking for the best criminal defense attorney in Corpus Christi, be sure to reach out to us. We would be happy to speak with you about your case!