Theft is considered a crime of moral turpitude. A conviction for theft can affect a person for the rest of their life. A conviction for theft on a person’s criminal record can make it difficult to obtain a job, be cause for a state agency to deny a professional license and even make it difficult to rent an apartment. Theft charges cover a variety of accusations ranging from shoplifting, stealing from an employer, failure to return rental property, or auto theft which is also known as unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
Besides the obvious ramifications of a theft conviction, the criminal penalties can be severe depending on the amount of the alleged theft. A theft in the amount of $100 to $750 is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor that may result in confinement in the county jail for up to 6 months and a fine up to $2,000. A theft in the amount of $750 to $2,500 is a Class A misdemeanor and carries a maximum range of punishment of up to 1 year in the county jail and up to a $4,000 fine. When the value of the alleged theft is between $2,500 and $30,000 or if you have been previously convicted of two prior theft cases, regardless of the amount, then the case can be charged as a state jail felony offense which may result in confinement in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice – State Jail Division for a period between 180 days and 2 years. When the amount of the alleged theft is between $30,000 and $150,000 the punishment range increases to 2 – 10 years in prison. If the amount alleged is between $150,000 and $300,000, the punishment range is 2 – 20 years in prison and if the amount of the alleged theft is greater than $300,000, then the case will be charged as a 1st degree felony that can result in a punishment of confinement in prison for a period of 5 years to 99 years or life in prison. If it is not possible to get your case dismissed and the chances of winning the case at trial do not appear likely, it may be possible to resolve the case without a conviction on your criminal record.
Often times, people are charged with a theft case even when they had nothing to do with the actual theft, but happened to be with someone else that was stealing. The legal way that the State of Texas charges someone under this scenario is based on Texas’ doctrine of the law of parties. The law of parties states that if you are with someone who commits a crime and assists them in the commission of that crime, then you are just as guilty as they are. The best example of this is when someone acts as a getaway driver, but doesn’t actually go into the store to steal the merchandise. These cases can and should be defended. Just because you are present when a third party commits a crime does not automatically make you guilty of the crime. The state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you either assisted in the commission of the theft or furthered the commission of the theft.
Dustan Neyland has years of experience handling theft cases in Harris County, Montgomery County, and all across the State of Texas. If you have been accused of a theft case anywhere in the State of Texas, contact us today to schedule a free in-person consultation at our office in Kingwood, TX, conveniently located within a short drive from Houston, TX and Conroe, TX.
The Law Offices of Dustan Neyland also represents clients who have been charged with a Class C theft of under $50 and have received a notice to appear in the City of Humble Municipal Court, the Justice of the Peace Court in New Caney, TX, and all Harris County Justice of the Peace Courts.
Contact us today at (281) 312-0155 for a free consultation.