It is important to remember that the state of Texas classifies and penalizes theft offenses based on the total value of the property taken. A Class C Misdemeanor theft offense, for example, is the lowest level of offense in the state.
Like most states, Texas prosecutes theft crimes aggressively. Unfortunately, a momentary lapse in judgment can create severe and lasting consequences that limit your freedom and your future. Depending on the specifics of the alleged offense, you could face steep fines, imprisonment, and other restrictive penalties. If you or a loved one is facing theft charges in Brazoria County, the Law Offices of Keith G. Allen, PLLC, is ready to help. We proudly offer strategic and effective criminal defense services to individuals and families throughout Southeast Texas, working hard to keep the future as bright as possible.
Most people have a basic understanding of what theft means. Essentially, it is the taking of someone else’s property without their consent. Under Texas law, a person commits theft if he unlawfully appropriates property with intent to deprive the owner. Title 7, Section 31.03 of the Texas Penal Code establishes three instances in which the appropriation of property is unlawful:
In general, someone who intentionally takes property belonging to someone else without obtaining the owner’s consent may face theft charges. A well-known example of a theft crime is shoplifting, where someone takes an item without compensating the retailer (i.e., the rightful owner) or securing their consent.
The severity of a theft charge depends on several factors, including the value of the stolen item or service. Generally, theft offenses involving items of lower value carry lesser penalties than crimes involving high-value goods.
Crimes involving stolen property valued below $100 are considered Class C misdemeanor offenses, punishable by a fine of up to $500. Class B Misdemeanor Theft applies to property valued between $100 and $750. If convicted, you could face a county jail sentence of up to 180 days, up to $2,000 in fines, or both. Theft offenses involving property valued between $750 and $2,500 will likely carry Class A misdemeanor charges, punishable by up to one year in jail, up to $4,000 in fines, or both.
Felony theft charges carry more substantial penalties than misdemeanor charges. For example, stealing property valued between $2,500 and $30,000 is considered a state jail felony, punishable by between 180 days and two years in jail, up to a $10,000 fine, or both. Third-degree felony theft applies to property valued between $30,000 and $150,000, punishable by two to ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine. For property valued between $150,000 and $300,000, prosecutors may bring second-degree felony charges, which carry penalties of up to 20 years in prison, $10,000 in fines, or both. A first-degree felony theft conviction for items valued over $300,000 is punishable by between five to 99 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
While the value of the item involved in the theft offense plays a significant role in determining the type of criminal charge the defendant will face, it is not the sole factor. The court considers other relevant details when determining the penalty the defendant may face if convicted of the theft crime. For instance, if you have a previous theft-related conviction on your criminal record, you could face enhanced penalties for a subsequent offense. Or, if you’re accused of stealing a firearm or a controlled substance, regardless of its value, you may face more severe consequences. Individuals working as public servants at the time of the alleged theft and using their status to take the property will likely face more severe charges and enhanced penalties.
Facing a theft charge is no light matter. Even having a misdemeanor conviction on your record can significantly limit your employment and housing options. Now is not the time to leave your future up to chance—get in touch with our office as soon as possible to discuss the specifics of your situation and determine the most strategic path forward.
The severity of a Texas theft charge depends on several factors, including the value of the stolen item or service. We’re prepared to represent your best interests and defend your rights at every turn.