But before we delve into the consequences of being charged with theft, or how a bail bondsman in Texas can help get you of your loved one out of jail, let’s examine the types of theft in Texas.
According to the Texas Penal Code Section 31.03., theft occurs when, “a person unlawfully appropriates property with intent to deprive the owner of property.”
Putting it in simple words: theft in Texas is when you take something that doesn’t belong to you without consent, and you have no intention of giving it back to the owner.
Types of Theft-Related Crimes
One of the most common types of theft is shoplifting/retail theft. Shoplifting falls under general theft laws in Texas. An individual could face criminal penalties depending on the value of the goods or services stolen.
But this isn’t all.
According to the Texas Penal Code section 31.03, 31.15, and 31.16, an individual could face enhanced penalties if caught attempting to deactivate a retail store’s theft detector or using a device that deactivates theft detectors in a retail setting.
Also, an individual could be charged with a class A misdemeanor if they take part in the making or distributing of devices that could be used to deactivate retail theft detectors.
While theft of property and services in one thing, the Texas Penal Code also identifies other crimes that are related to theft, and they include:
- Theft of trade secrets
- Theft by check
- Organized retail theft
- Cargo theft
Penalties for Theft in Texas
Penalties for theft in Texas range depending on the severity of the crime, the value of the goods stolen, and whether it is a first-time offense. They are typically divided into seven brackets. Here’s a quick overview of the various penalties associated with theft in Texas.
- Class C Misdemeanor:If you steal something worth $50 or less, it could be classified as a Class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by a $500.00 fine and no jail time.
- Class B Misdemeanor:For theft amounts between $50 to $500, the defendant could be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.
- Class A misdemeanor: Theft charges in Texas for the amount of $500 to $1,500 result in a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year of jail time and a maximum fine of up to $4,000.
- State Jail Felony:For theft amounts between $1,500 and $20,000, it’s considered a state jail felony, which is punishable by six months to two years in state jail and fines as high as $10,000.
- Third-Degree Felony: Theft amounts between $20,000 and $100,000 are considered a third-degree felony. This means imprisonment for two to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Second-Degree Felony: If the theft amount is between $100,000 and $200,000, it counts as a second-degree felony, which is punishable by imprisonment of between two to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
- First-Degree Felony: Lastly, any theft amounting to $200,000 or more could result in a first-degree felony charge in Texas. This is punishable by five to 99 years (life) in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Here’s something that’s worth noting as well: if an individual has one prior conviction for any level of theft, their charges could be moved up by one bracket. If they have two or more
for any level of theft, their charges will be bumped up two brackets. For example, if a person with a prior theft conviction (even a small one, say $50.00) is convicted of theft for a second time (even if it’s also a small amount), they could be convicted of a Class B misdemeanor, which means heftier fines and more time behind bars.
Furthermore, for public servants, government contractors or Medicare providers, if they commit theft, their penalties could be moved higher by one bracket due to the nature of their work.
Civil Penalties for Theft in Texas
Here’s the kicker: theft charges in Texas are not limited to just the amount of goods or services stolen. An individual who engages in the act of theft may be civilly liable to the victim as well.
The person/entity whose property was stolen could file a lawsuit in civil court to recover damages caused by theft, as well as the legal fees and costs incurred over the period of the trial. Just know that these costs could run up to thousands of dollars!
If a child commits theft, their parents or legal guardian are liable for civil damages. However, there’s a maximum of how much parents or legal guardians could be on hook for in case their child is involved in theft.
How Texas Felony Theft Charges Affect Your Case
No matter how you look at it, theft charges in Texas could lead to severe consequences. As said earlier, depending on the amount at stake, an individual could spend a significant amount of time behind bars.
For a repeat offender, a minor mistake could lead to much bigger penalties and much longer time in jail.
If an individual is charged with theft in Texas, the best thing to do is to hire an attorney who has dealt with theft related cases and could build a decent defense. You should also hire a bail bondsman in Texas.
How Can PCS Bail Bonds Help?
We know people make mistakes. If you have been booked for theft, want to get out of jail quick, and build a good defense for yourself: PCS Bail Bonds can help you. We have 25+ years of experience in getting people out of jail, especially when it comes to theft charges in the Fort Worth area. We are available 24/7 for bail bondsman service in Fort Worth/Tarrant County, we offer 10% lower fees, and we provide complete confidentiality to our clients.
Contact us today to book a free consultation or simply call us at 817-335-1655. Se Habla Español.