Criminal Defense for Alleged Theft in Frisco, TX
What are the Theft Laws in Frisco?
Under Texas law, theft is the unlawful appropriation of property with the intent to deprive the owner of that property. In general, this means taking something that doesn’t belong to you without permission and with no plan to give it back to its owner.
It is a broad definition that includes both directly taking someone’s property and knowingly receiving stolen property. It is also considered theft if you trick or deceive the property owner into giving the item to you.
There is no minimum threshold amount for theft charges in Frisco. You can be charged with theft no matter the value of the property you stole. It is considered theft whether you shoplift a $20 shirt or steal a luxury car.
What are the Penalties for Theft in Frisco?
Theft charges can result in severe consequences and should be taken seriously. The penalty varies depending primarily on the value of the property taken – the greater the property’s value, the more severe the punishment. In Frisco, a theft conviction ranges from a Class C misdemeanor to a first-degree felony.
Below is a breakdown of the penalties by property value:
- Less than $100 – Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $500
- Between $100 and $750 – Class B misdemeanor punishable by a jail sentence of up to 180 days and/or a maximum fine of $2,000
- Between $750 and $2,500 – Class A misdemeanor punishable by a jail sentence of up to a year and/or a maximum fine of $4,000
- Between $2,500 and $30,000 – State jail felony punishable by a state jail sentence of 180 days to two years and/or a maximum fine of $10,000
- Between $30,000 and $150,000 – Third-degree felony punishable by a prison sentence of two to ten years and/or a maximum fine of $10,000
- Between $150,000 and $300,000 – Second-degree felony punishable by a prison sentence of two to 20 years and/or a maximum fine of $10,000
- Above $300,000 – First-degree felony punishable by a prison sentence of five to 99 years and/or a maximum fine of $10,000
In addition to the value of the property, penalties can be increased under certain circumstances. For example, if the defendant used their position as a public official or stole from the government as a Medicare provider, your penalties will be greater. Your penalty will also increase if you have a prior theft conviction. Sometimes, the type of property stolen affects punishment, for example, firearms, certain metals, certain livestock, and certain controlled substances.
What are Defenses to Theft Charges in Frisco?
If you have been accused of theft, you should immediately reach out to a criminal defense attorney based in Frisco, Texas. The prosecution has the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed theft. Every arrest charge does not need to lead to a conviction.
There are several defenses and strategies that an attorney can use to get the charges dropped or lessen your penalties. A few potential defenses for theft in Frisco include:
- Honest mistake – You must have intended to permanently deprive the owner of his or her property to be convicted. Your attorney can argue that the court should drop your charges because you did not believe you were stealing the property. For example, perhaps you borrowed the item from a friend with the intent to return the property, or you received a gift from someone and had no knowledge that it was stolen property.
- Duress – You will not be convicted if you were forced to steal the property by someone threatening you or your family with serious harm.
- You lacked false pretenses – If you are accused of misrepresenting yourself to steal property, you can argue that you lacked false pretenses.
- You returned the property – While returning the property is not a defense, it will often make you appear more sympathetic in the eyes of the judge, and you may receive a reduced sentence.
Your Frisco Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one is facing theft charges, you should reach out to an experienced Frisco criminal defense attorney. Philip D. Ray is a knowledgeable Frisco attorney who will make sure that your rights are protected. Call Philip D. Ray today to schedule a consultation at (214) 845-7987.