Theft is a serious offense in Houston that can have equally serious repercussions. If charged with theft, you may face a jail sentence, substantial fine, and permanent record of a theft conviction. This serious impact of a theft conviction makes your defense to theft charges highly important and the advice of a Houston Theft Lawyer extremely valuable.
As one of Houston’s leading private, criminal defense firms, Greco Neyland, has the local experience and state-wide knowledge to provide the high-quality defense you deserve.
Theft Law Firm in Houston, TX
In Houston, you can be arrested and charged with a theft offense under Texas laws. The statute that criminalizes theft, or larceny as it is called in other states, covers a broad range of illegal actions, including unlawfully taking the property of another person or knowingly possessing the property you know as stolen.
- Unlawfully appropriating;
- The property of another person;
- With the intent to deprive the rightful owner of such property.
Essential to this definition and any case a Houston prosecutor might bring is what it means to unlawfully appropriate property. As a Houston criminal lawyer can tell you, not all actions of taking or using someone else’s property are unlawful or appropriation. What does qualify?
- The property is taken without the rightful owner’s consent;
- The defendant appropriates property that he or she knows was previously stolen; or
- The defendant is told by law enforcement that property is stolen and the defendant takes it believing it to be stolen property.
Similarly, the intent of the defendant at the time the property is taken is crucial. There must be evidence that the defendant did or planned to keep the property for an extended period of time or use most of its value. If a Houston theft lawyer at Greco Neyland can disprove intent, you won’t be convicted of theft.
What Is the Punishment for a Theft Conviction in Houston?
While Texas has a consolidated theft statute that is applied in Houston, Harris County, and elsewhere, there are different degrees and severity of offenses in the state. The exact charges against you and the degree of gravity are determined by the fair market value of the property stolen. Other factors that may lead to heightened theft charges are:
- The identity of the victim or rightful property owner;
- The type of property stolen, for example, theft of firearms is held to a higher standard; and
- The means or method used to steal the property.
Once these factors are taken into consideration by a Houston court, a sentence is determined. If you are charged with theft, the exact offense could range from a class C misdemeanor to the most serious crime in the state, a felony in the first degree.
- Class C misdemeanor: theft of property valued at $50 or less, which is punishable by a maximum fine of $500
- Class B misdemeanor: theft of property valued between $50 and $500, which is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of $2,000
- Class A misdemeanor: theft of property valued between $500 and $1,500, which is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of $4,000
- State jail felony: theft of property valued between $1,500 and $20,000, which is punishable by up to two years in county jail and a fine of $10,000
- Felony in the third degree: theft of property between $20,000 and $100,000, which is punishable by 10 years in prison and a fine of $10,000
- Felony in the second degree: theft of property between $100,000 and $200,000, which is punishable by 20 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
- Felony in the first degree: theft of property over $200,000, which is punishable by 99 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
Find the Best Houston Theft Lawyers
Our team at Greco Neyland has extensive experience with theft charges in Houston and providing the best possible defense to criminal charges. We know your case is unique and take the time to assess what strategy and arguments would give you the best chance at overcoming accusations of shoplifting, stealing, or grand larceny.