It can feel overwhelming to face criminal charges in Texas, especially if this is your first brush with the criminal justice system. When law enforcement arrests you for a theft offense, you may wonder how this incident will impact your freedom and future. Will you serve jail time? Will this offense show up on your criminal record? Are there enhancements for theft charges in Texas? Here’s a brief overview of theft charges and potential enhancements in Texas so you can prepare to face the days, weeks, and months ahead with greater certainty and confidence.
Defining Theft Crimes in Texas
Under Title 7, Section 31.03 of the Texas Penal Code, “A person commits an offense [theft] if he unlawfully appropriates property with intent to deprive the owner of property.” Essentially, if you take or deprive the rightful owner of their property, you can face theft charges. The severity of the penalty depends on the dollar amount of the property in question; the more the property is worth, the lengthier your jail or prison sentence may be. Theft offenses may be prosecuted as misdemeanor or felony offenses, depending on the specifics of your case.
Theft Charge Enhancements in Texas
There are certain situations in which a defendant may face theft charge enhancements. This occurs when prosecutors elevate misdemeanor charges to felony charges, leading to harsher penalties. For instance, if the defendant has prior theft charges or convictions, any subsequent misdemeanor theft charges may be converted to felony charges. Additionally, if you steal from an elderly individual or a nonprofit organization, you will likely face harsher penalties. Medical providers and public officials who use their positions to steal from the government or other entities are also subject to enhanced theft charges.
Contact a Skilled Pearland Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Facing criminal charges of any kind can be stressful, especially if you don’t understand your legal rights. As tempting as it may be to try to explain your way out of a theft charge, it’s essential to exercise your right to remain silent until you have had the opportunity to discuss your situation with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. Your lawyer will assess the specifics of your case and develop a strong legal strategy to protect your future and freedom.
Schedule a free consultation with a dedicated Pearland criminal defense attorney by calling the Law Offices of Keith G. Allen, PLLC, today at (832) 230-0075.