An arrest for a theft offense can be stressful, especially if you aren’t sure what to expect in the days, weeks, and months to come. Questions about your freedom and your future suddenly arise, causing confusion and anxiety. Before you imagine the worst, it’s helpful to understand the potential penalties for theft convictions in Texas. Here’s a brief overview of how Texas courts prosecute theft and what steps you can take to protect your future.
Defining Theft in Texas
Under Title 7, Chapter 31, Section 31.03 of the Texas Penal Code, someone commits theft if “he unlawfully appropriates property with intent to deprive the owner of property.” Additionally, selling or receiving goods that you know have been stolen is also considered theft. According to these definitions, theft crimes may include shoplifting, robbery, property theft, forgery, burglary, and other similar offenses.
Penalties for Theft in Houston
The penalties for theft depend on whether prosecutors charge you with a misdemeanor or felony theft. Essentially, the higher the value of the property, the more severe the consequences. A misdemeanor theft conviction, which applies to instances involving stolen property or services valued up to $1,499, could lead to up to one year in jail, up to $4,000 in fines, and other restrictions on your freedom. Felony theft involving stolen property valued between $1,500 and $20,000 or more may lead to harsher penalties, such as years or even decades in prison, up to $10,000 in fines, and other limitations on your future. First-degree felony theft carries the strictest penalties; if convicted, you could face up to 99 years in prison.
Long-Term Consequences for a Texas Theft Conviction
In addition to jail or prison time, theft convictions often carry other long-term consequences. Employers may see the theft conviction on your record and assume that you aren’t trustworthy, and you may also face barriers to finding housing. While you may be tempted to represent yourself, it’s always in your best interest to enlist the guidance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can fight for your rights. Your attorney will assess the details of your situation and determine the most strategic path forward. Remember, you don’t have to go through this stressful time alone. Your attorney can answer your questions, address your concerns, and help you face what lies ahead with greater confidence.
If you are facing theft charges in Pearland, Brazoria County, or the Houston area, call the Law Offices of Keith G. Allen, PLLC, today at (832) 230-0075 to arrange a free consultation with a trusted criminal defense lawyer.