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

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.

Can I get theft charges dismissed?

It’s always possible to get theft charges in Texas dismissed if the prosecution doesn’t have enough evidence against you, but hiring an attorney as soon as you’re suspected will be your best course of action. An attorney might be able to convince the police not to arrest you. And in some cases, he or she can present evidence to the police in an effort to convince them of your innocence.

Can my parents or friends refuse to talk to the police about what I tell them?

The State of Texas doesn’t grant communication privileges between parents and children, or between you and your friends. So, anything you tell them about the alleged crime or your potential alibi can be inquired about by the police. If your parents or friends lie to law enforcement, they can be charged with perjury. There is only spousal privilege, which allows the spouse to refuse to testify against you in a criminal proceeding.

What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony theft charge?

Like every other state in the country, misdemeanors and felonies are two separate crime classifications. Misdemeanors are still significant, but they’re not as serious as felonies. In Texas, misdemeanors are separated into three categories — Class A, Class B, and Class C (with Class A having the most serious consequences). Felony charges are classified according to the following categories:
– State jail felonies.
– Third-degree felonies.
– Second-degree felonies.
– First-degree felonies.
– Capital felonies.

Capital felonies are among the most serious in the State of Texas.

What is the difference between theft and robbery?

Theft is the unlawful appropriation of someone else’s property with the intention of depriving the owner of that property. Someone commits a robbery if the person plans to obtain or maintain control of that property when they commit an act of theft, “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause bodily injury to another,” or “intentionally or knowingly threaten or place another in fear of imminent bodily injury or death.” If you use force (or even the threat of force) while you engage in an act of theft, you have committed a robbery and is considered to be a second-degree felony.

What are some possible defenses for theft in Texas?

Theft charges in Texas can be defended in a number of effective ways, but you need to hire a criminal defense attorney to find the best one for your specific case. While you’re considered “innocent until proven guilty,” you can rebut this presumption with your own testimony. Your innocence can also be rebutted with the presentation of other evidence.
You might be able to prove that you never intended to deprive the owner of the property. You might have accidentally taken it while it was hidden inside a bag or vehicle, or you might have borrowed it while believing you had permission to take it with the promise of returning it.
Some other defenses of theft in Texas can also include:
– You made a “mistake of fact” while the property was appropriated. In other words, you believed it belonged to you.
– The owner consented (whether it was direct or implied) to your appropriation of the property.
– You took the property out of necessity to prevent any serious harm.
You might also be able prove that you were under duress while you appropriated the property — whether it was through an abusive spouse, gang boss, or some other oppressor who forced you to take it with the threat of injury or death.

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!