San Antonio Theft Crime Lawyer
Charged with shoplifting? Fraud? Forgery? Theft by check? No matter what the theft charge, we have the expertise to defend you.
If you have been accused of theft you need a theft defense attorney who knows how to get your case dismissed. Or accused of stealing? In the state of Texas, theft crimes have different names and consequences related to their names, like shoplifting, fraud, misapplication of fiduciary duty, forgery or theft by check. What most people don’t realize is how severe the consequences can be and how vital a proper criminal defense attorney is.
The hidden penalties of a theft charge
Imagine twenty years from now you sit down to interview for the job of your dreams. Your employer pulls your background and finds your stupid theft conviction from when you were just a kid. Theft cases can follow you for the rest of your life. Thankfully, at The Locke Law Group we know how to make sure that a stupid mistake doesn’t impact you for the rest of your life.
Moral turpitude is a term used to describe a person’s moral standing in the legal system. A theft crime leaves you with a bad moral standing in the court system. Even if the circumstances are unrelated, your creditability is stained by the theft charge.
Another common penalty you could face is trouble with employment. Finding a job that doesn’t request a background check or run regulatory criminal checks is hard to find. You could lose your job or fail to land a dream job because of a theft arrest.
We tailor our strategy to your specific case
At The Locke Law Group, we tailor all our strategies to fit to the individual case we take on. No criminal defense case is alike and because of this no strategy can be alike either. When you need an experienced criminal defense attorney, turn to ours.
Charged with theft? Don’t wait. Call now.
How Is Theft Defined In The State Of Texas?
A theft occurs, in Texas, when you intentionally deprive someone else of their property by the use of deception. Once someone has been convicted of theft, they carry a label for the rest of their life. Theft can occur in several different forms. There’s misappropriation of fiduciary property, where a trusted employee takes money entrusted to them by their employer and uses it for their own purposes. There’s fraud, where someone takes the property of someone else by pretending to be that person with a credit card or with a check. There’s also robbery and burglary. A robbery occurs when you use force to take property off of the person of someone and burglary is when you break into their home or into an unoccupied structure and take property that way. Theft is different from other forms of burglary and robbery in the sense that in burglary and robbery, it is the act that is punished. In a theft case, a fraud case, or a misappropriation of fiduciary property case, the amount of the theft is what determines how serious it is. Depending on how much you took, you can get charged with anything from a first-degree felony to a Class B misdemeanor.
What Are The Legal Punishments For Theft Convictions In Texas?
In Texas, the penalty for a theft case is going to depend on how much property was taken. If the property is worth less than $100, it is a Class C misdemeanor. This is a citation. Usually, people who are accused of theft of less than $100 are not arrested. They are cited and given a court date. It’s still very important to take those cases seriously because they can have significant penalties. If the theft is for more than $100 and less than $750, then it’s a Class B misdemeanor, which is something that you can go to jail for. From $750 to $2,500 is a Class A misdemeanor and from $2,500 to $30,000 is a state jail felony. A state jail felony is punishable with six months to two years in a state jail facility.
A third-degree felony is theft from $30,000 to $150,000. A second-degree felony is from $150,000 to $300,000. Finally, if it’s more than $300,000, it’s considered a first-degree felony, which can be punishable anywhere from five years to life in prison. There are also possible enhancements. These enhancements include having prior felony or theft convictions or if the victim was an elderly individual or a nonprofit organization. These will enhance it to the next level and make it one level more serious than it had been before.
I Have Just Been Arrested For Theft. What Happens Next?
If you were arrested for theft, you’re going to receive a court date and that court date is going to be a pretrial conference. You need to hire a lawyer so that we can begin looking at possible defenses to avoid all of the really bad things that can happen to you for being convicted of theft. We’ll start looking at the police reports and at whether or not the state has sufficient evidence in their file to find you guilty. We’ll also start looking at potential solutions, such as pretrial diversion. In Bexar County, pretrial diversion is available for theft cases, if you are a first offender. It requires you to qualify and it’s decided on a case by case basis by the prosecutors. It is very important to hire a lawyer so that we can very quickly make the determination of whether or not we should go forward with a pretrial diversion plea or if we should gear up to fight the case.
How Do Prior Arrests And Convictions Impact My Current Theft Case In Texas?
Anyone who has been convicted two or more times of a theft conviction has the possibility of getting their charges enhanced to a state jail felony. When someone is charged with a state jail felony, they are eligible for a jail term in the amount of six months to two years. Depending on your other prior felony convictions, it can be enhanced further.
Are There Any Alternative Programs Available For First Time Theft Offenders?
When someone has not been arrested before, in Bexar County, they are eligible for something called pretrial diversion. Pretrial diversion is different than another possible alternative, which is deferred adjudication. When someone qualifies for pretrial diversion, they enter into an agreement with the state that they will do certain things and then the case will be dismissed, and they’re eligible for an expunction. When they receive deferred adjudication, the case is dismissed but it stays on their record. These alternatives allow people to admit guilt and to still keep their record as clean as possible.
Are People Who Are Charged With Petty Theft Always Arrested?
Many times, when someone is shoplifting, if they shoplifted in an amount that is considered petty theft, they are not arrested. They are simply cited (given what looks like a traffic ticket) and released. That is still as serious as being arrested for theft and needs to be taken very seriously. If you’re convicted of it and you don’t receive deferred adjudication, you will have a criminal record for theft, which is very serious.
For instance, if you’re ever in a car accident and you have to testify about how much damages you have if you’ve been convicted of a theft, the attorney for the person who caused you injury can ask you questions about that and attack your credibility. It can follow you around for the rest of your life. Even though you’re not arrested for Class C misdemeanor theft, it’s still very important to hire a lawyer and to take that charge seriously.
What Does The Prosecution Have To Prove In A Theft Case?
In a theft case, the prosecution has to prove that you intentionally took the items that they are accusing you of taking. They have to prove the value of those items and they have to prove that it was taken without the consent of the person who owns the items. This is becoming more difficult as stores are becoming more serious about prosecuting theft charges. It’s become a profit avenue for stores. When you’re arrested for a theft case, you’ll get letters in the mail and these are civil demand letters from the store where you were arrested, demanding that you pay fees, even if they received the property back.
These civil demand letters should not be paid. Usually, they are from out of state lawyers who shouldn’t be practicing law in Texas. You should be very careful about what you do next. You absolutely need to make sure that you have the advice of a lawyer before you make these decisions. The prosecution has to prove that you intentionally took the item, that you took it without consent, and that you took an item with a specific value. Sometimes, we can look at the video from the store to see how intentional the act was. A lot of stores keep some items outdoors, right by the door. It can be difficult for the state to prove that you were leaving the store with the intent to take this item, when you may have simply been obtaining other items from just outside the store.