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Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
If you were charged with theft, you may be confused, concerned, and unsure of what comes next. With so many types of theft under Texas law, with some offenses requiring decades’ imprisonment and fines of $10,000, contacting a Plainview theft lawyer could be very beneficial.
A skilled criminal defense lawyer could help you ascertain what charges and possible penalties you are facing and what defense strategy can be used to protect your rights.
Definition and Types of Theft
According to Texas Penal Code § 31.03, theft occurs when an individual “unlawfully appropriates property with intent to deprive the owner of property.” There are many different offenses that fulfill the definition of theft, including but not limited to:
- Petty larceny
- Grand larceny
- Car theft
Because each different theft offense has its own set of stipulations and penalties, each charge requires a unique defense strategy. Plainview theft attorneys could help someone charged with theft explore their options, conduct investigations, interviews witnesses, and comes up with a defense that could yield a positive outcome for their case.
Theft Charges and Consequences in Plainview
While the nature of the offense may dictate the charge and the possible consequences, the value of the item or items stolen plays a large role in determining the classification of the offense as well. For example, if the value of the item stolen is less than $100 total, the offense is a Class C misdemeanor and is punishable by less than $500 in fines and no required jail time.
However, if the item stolen is between $2,500 and $30,000 in value, the alleged offender may spend anywhere from 180 days to two years in state jail. The convicted individual is also required to pay fines of up to $10,000.
The most severe theft offense classification occurs when the value of the item or items stolen is $300,000 or more. The alleged offender could face a first-degree felony charge and, if convicted, could be sentenced to anywhere from five to 99 years’ imprisonment, plus face potential fines of up to $10,000. On top of legal penalties, individuals accused of theft may also face civil suits from the alleged victims of the theft.
Crime of Moral Turpitude
Theft offenses are considered crimes of moral turpitude, which means they are considered morally wrong and contrary to social good. Someone convicted of a crime of moral turpitude is often prevented from securing employment. Gaining acceptance to colleges and universities, and even gaining access to opportunities that require a background check. Moral turpitude is considered a negative indicator of the quality of someone’s character, and therefore can greatly impact their future.
With these consequences in mind, those accused of theft should do everything in their power to avoid a conviction. And gaining the legal guidance of a steadfast Plainview theft lawyer can be the first step in doing so.
Talk to a Plainview Theft Attorney
A theft accusation is not a theft conviction. There may be a way to lessen the severity of the charge or drop the charges entirely. Therefore, ensure you still have future opportunities for employment and education. If you were charged with a theft offense. Contact a Plainview theft attorney to find out what you can do to fight the prosecution’s case against you. Take the first step in protecting your future and rights by consulting with us today.