Depending on the circumstances, the state can prosecute a theft charge as a minor misdemeanor or a felony punishable by years behind prison bars. Several aggravating conditions can increase the severity of your underlying offense. Going into a case without preparation for these factors could lead to facing much more severe consequences than you were expecting.
If you are facing any theft allegation, having help from a seasoned Allen theft lawyer could be vital to protecting your rights and effectively pursuing a positive case resolution. Our team is dedicated to getting the best results possible no matter what, and our local defense attorneys are willing to fight for you both in and out of court to get a favorable outcome.
Misdemeanor Theft Charge Penalties
Texas Penal Code §31.03 allows the prosecution to pursue theft offenses as misdemeanors or felonies based on the total value and sometimes the specific nature of the goods allegedly taken. As a lawyer in Allen could further explain, first-time theft of property or services valued at less than $100 total is a class C misdemeanor, punishable upon conviction by a $500 fine but not by jail time.
However, the law considers a second or subsequent conviction for theft of an item less than $100 a class B misdemeanor, as is theft of property valued between $100 and $750 and theft of an ID card or driver’s license. A court may impose up to 180 days of jail time and a maximum $2,000 fine on anyone convicted of this offense. Finally, the law categorizes theft of goods between $750 and $2,500 as a class A misdemeanor carrying a maximum jail term of one year and a maximum fine of $4,000.
When Does Theft Become a Felony Offense?
A theft charge may be prosecuted as a felony if the total value of goods or services allegedly taken exceed $2,500, the severity can increase based on the following ranges:
- $2,500 to $30,000 – state jail felony
- $30,000 to $150,000 – third-degree felony
- $150,000 to $300,000 – second-degree felony
- Over $300,000 – first-degree felony
Courts in Texas always classify certain types of property theft as felonies regardless of their actual financial value. For example, theft of an ATM or its contents valued at less than $300,000 is always a second-degree felony. An attorney in Allen could help an individual determine what level of felony a theft charge may fall under and develop a defense to protect their rights.
Aggravating Conditions for Theft Offenses
If someone unlawfully takes any property belonging to or under the control of a person 65 years or older, a public servant, a nonprofit organization, a Medicare provider, or any government contractor, the severity of their offense automatically increases by one level. Anyone who causes a fire alarm to go off or prevents one from going off during an act of theft would also be subject to this sentencing enhancement. A theft lawyer in Allen could go into further detail about these aggravating conditions during a confidential consultation.
Speak with an Allen Theft Attorney About Legal Options
Regardless of how state prosecutors classify your theft charge, proactively contesting the accusation against you could be vital to protecting your long-term interests. Guidance from legal counsel is also crucial to accomplishing a favorable outcome, especially if this is not your first time in court for a theft offense.
Our team has experience representing people dealing with situations like yours and effectively protecting people’s rights and freedoms. Call today to learn how an Allen theft lawyer could help you.