THEFT DEFENSE ATTORNEY IN DALLAS, TEXAS
According to the website Disaster Center, in 2019 — the latest year for full statistics — there were 501,813 cases of larceny and theft in Texas and another 77,489 incidents of vehicle theft.
If you or a family member is under investigation or has been charged with theft in or around Dallas, Texas, including nearby Irving and Mesquite, contact the Law Office of Thomas R. Cox. We offer both solid legal representation and a bail bond service, so you won’t have to deal with multiple agencies just to get the freedom to pursue your defense.
DEFINITION OF THEFT AND
ASSOCIATED PENALTIES IN TEXAS
Like most states, Texas classifies theft by the value of the property stolen, and the penalties can rise as the value rises. The simplest theft is Class C Misdemeanor Theft, which is when the stolen property or services is valued at less than $100. The penalty is typically a fine of up to $500 and does not include jail time.
A Class B Misdemeanor involves theft valued at more than $100 but less than $750, or is the defendant’s second or subsequent charge of property valued at less than $100, or involves the theft of a driver’s license or other identification card. The penalty includes a fine of up to $2,000, jail time of up to 180 days, or both.
A Class A Misdemeanor covers theft of more than $750 but less than $2,500 in goods or services. Penalties available are a fine of not more than $4,000 and/or imprisonment for not more than one year.
WHEN THEFT BECOMES A FELONY
Above the $2,500 threshold, theft charges become felonies. What’s called State Jail Felony Theft encompasses:
Theft of more than $2,500 but less than $30,000
Theft of less than $2,500 for a second or subsequent offense
Theft from another person, a grave or a corpse
Theft of a firearm, an election ballot, or certain livestock and metals
Penalties are a fine of no more than $10,000, imprisonment from 180 days to two years, or both. The charge is bumped to the next level of felony if a deadly weapon was used or exhibited or if the defendant had a prior felony conviction.
THIRD-DEGREE FELONY THEFT
Third-Degree Felony Theft involves the theft of more than $30,000 but less than $150,000 or involves the theft of certain livestock valued at $150,000 or less, or the property was stolen is a controlled substance valued at less than $150,000 and was stolen from a commercial building where controlled substances are stored. The punishment is a fine of no more than $10,000, imprisonment from two to ten years, or both.
SECOND-DEGREE FELONY THEFT
Second-Degree Felony Theft limits are more than $150,000 but less than $300,000, or it involves the theft of an ATM or its contents valued at less than $300,000. Punishment is a fine of not more than $10,000, prison time of two to 20 years, or both.
FIRST-DEGREE FELONY THEFT
First-Degree Felony Theft is of property or services worth more than $300,000. Punishment is a fine of not more than $10,000, two to 99 years in prison, or both.
If there are certain aggravating or enhanced factors involved in the theft, the level of crime can be bumped up to the next level, for instance, from Class B to Class A. These factors include:
Property stolen while under the control of a public servant or someone in a contract position with the government
The owner of the property is 65 years of age or older or is a nonprofit organization
Property stolen while under the control of a Medicare provider
The perpetrator caused a fire alarm to go off or prevented it from going off
On top of and separate from the criminal penalties outlined above, the victim of the theft can sue for restitution of the value of item or items stolen (if they are not returned in proper condition), a civil penalty of not more than $1,000, and legal costs and fees.
TO A THEFT CHARGE
Remember, a criminal trial must involve proof “beyond a reasonable doubt,” and if a jury is impaneled, they must concur without dissent on a guilty verdict. This leaves the defense team room to cast doubt and challenge evidence and testimony. Some common defense strategies include:
IT WAS AN HONEST MISTAKE
The item may have gone unnoticed in your shopping cart, or it could have been loaned to you and you forgot to return it. Or you had no idea it was stolen when you acquired it.
YOU WERE UNDER DURESS
You or a family member may have been threatened by a gang or other person or group to carry out the theft or suffer dire consequences.
YOU WERE ENTRAPPED
Someone else lured you into carrying out the theft, perhaps as part of a police sting operation. An overzealous security guard may have harassed you into what seemed like theft but wasn’t.
YOU DID NOT KNOW THE GOODS WERE STOLEN
Texas law considers it theft when you acquire stolen goods. If someone gives you a stolen item and you don’t know it’s stolen, that can be a solid defense.
WORK WITH AN EXPERIENCED
Innocent people are oftentimes the victim of circumstances or a momentary lapse in judgment in a moment of duress. We understand human challenges and choices, so a lot of our efforts will focus on explaining your situation and mental state at the time of the alleged crime to the district attorney. This extra effort can sometimes lead to a lighter charge or even a dismissal of all charges.
Regardless of what led to you facing charges of theft, you have rights that need to be protected. If you or someone you know has been charged with theft, you deserve to have an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner to devise a strong defense and fight the charges against you. Call or reach out to the Law Offices of Thomas R. Cox III today for reliable legal counsel and representation.
THEFT DEFENSE ATTORNEY SERVING
If you’re facing a theft allegation, contact the Law Offices of Thomas R. Cox III immediately. Criminal defense attorney Thomas R. Cox can provide the bail required to get you back to your home and your daily life, all while working to develop a solid defense strategy — including our discussions with the D.A. — to give you the best chance for a favorable outcome. The Law Office of Thomas R. Cox is proud to serve clients in Dallas, Texas, and the surrounding areas of Grand Prairie, Highland Park, and University Park.