5 Defenses for Theft Crimes in Houston, TX

31 Jul 2022
Greco Neyland, PC

If you’ve been accused of theft here in Houston, then our team can help. There are multiple defenses we can use to help you defend this charge.

We may use these at trial, or we may use these while attempting to negotiate your charges with a prosecutor.

#1) Lack of Intent

According to Texas Penal Code Section 31.03, “a person commits an offense if he unlawfully appropriates property with intent to deprive the owner of property.”

If you had no intent to deprive the owner of property, then there was no theft. This might happen in cases where an item was left at the bottom of the shopping cart, but you paid for all other items, in cases where you took property you legitimately believed to be yours, or in cases where you purchased or accepted stolen property without realizing the property was stolen.

#2) Borrowing

Some theft cases arise when a person borrows property, they believe they have permission to borrow. As the law says “Appropriation of property is unlawful if it is without the owner’s effective consent” then the issue is you misunderstood the consent, not that you intended to take the property for good.

This might happen in cases where neighbors, family members, friends, or romantic partners had a pattern of borrowing certain property for years, only to withdraw consent due to some anger or hurt feelings on the part of the owner that were never properly expressed.

This defense would not work in a case where you’re being accused of loan fraud. In such cases you are being accused of intentionally misrepresenting yourself in order to secure property that isn’t yours. “I thought I had the right to borrow that money” wouldn’t work here.

#3) The Property Was Yours

This one requires no explanation.

If we can prove you owned the property in the first place, then the case should close pretty quickly. We can do this with bank or credit card records, with receipts, with warranty paperwork, or with any other paper trail that can demonstrate that you actually owned the property.

#4) Actual Innocence

Someone stole the property, but it wasn’t you.

We can do this if we can prove you weren’t anywhere near the site of the theft or robbery when it took place, or if we can show that there are problems with the evidence, eye witness statements, or physical evidence that led law enforcement to your door, instead of someone else’s.

#5) Entrapment or Intoxication

If you are under the influence of alcohol, then you might have taken property without realizing it wasn’t yours.

In addition, it is not lawful for undercover law enforcement officers to entice you into taking property that isn’t yours for the purposes of making an arrest.

Get Help Today

If none of these defenses will work in your case we may still be able to help. For example, we’ve been successful at securing deferred prosecution agreements for some defendants.

We can give you your best chance at getting your life back after a theft charge. Contact us to get help today.

See also:

5 Mistakes You Need to Avoid in Your Houston, TX Criminal Case

How Do Plea Bargains Work in Houston, TX?

How Pretrial Diversion Works in Houston, TX

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