How Are Thefts Prosecuted?

HOW ARE THEFTS PROSECUTED YOU MAY ASK? You have to understand that in Texas what we do is we break it down into not did you take somebody’s stuff, but how did you do it? As an attorney in Frisco, Texas, you’re looking at whether you’re going to be in the McKinney courthouse or the Denton courthouse. You have to know that the Denton District Attorney’s Office or the Collin County District Attorney’s Office has a broad description on how they are going to charge something. For instance, if you take something out of someone else’s house, if you went in with the intent of taking something from them, you could be charged with burglary. Burglary of a habitation is a second-degree felony, burglary of a building, somebody’s storage shed or something else, well, that’s a state jail felony. If all you did was take stuff and you were legally in the building in the first place, say you walk into a store and take something, well, that’s going to be theft unless you physically confront someone.

Because see, if you walk in and you’re just shoplifting, and you pick up something, and you’re like, I’m not going to pay for this, I’m going to get out of here, and then someone confronts you, if you use physical force to stop someone from keeping you from leaving, then you just committed robbery. Because robbery is theft, the taking of someone else’s property, along with the physical threat or actual use of physical attack or power, so any kind of assault. You think theft plus assault equals robbery. Robbery is a second-degree felony. If you do it with a gun, now you’re using a deadly weapon; now, you’re talking aggravated robbery.

Every time you do something, and you are going to have to face something, whether it is in the courts of McKinney or the courts in Denton County here in Frisco, Texas, you have to understand the details of what happened, so you know how much trouble you’re in. Because quite frankly, if you’re the kind of person who has done this before and you’ve been in trouble a lot, then two prior theft convictions can make you eligible for a felony just for stealing a pack of gum. You have to know how much trouble you are in and what you have done to get yourself in a position where you can really wrap your mind around what are you facing and make sure that your lawyer understands how to put those pieces together.

Because you see, the District Attorney’s Office could charge you with burglary of a habitation. You’re looking at a second-degree felony. When really, all you did was you came over to your friend’s house, and you pocketed some of his stuff. Because if you don’t violate the sanctity of structure with the idea that you’re going to take something, meaning if you walk into the place and you didn’t actually have your mind made up to take something in the first place, then you’re really only guilty of theft.

The thing about theft is not a value-adder: the more you steal, the more trouble you’re in. If you steal less than $1,500 to $2,000 in stuff, you’re looking at a misdemeanor. If you steal more than that, you’re looking at a felony.

If I go into my friend’s house and I take his Xbox, well, that’s about a $499 item. I’m looking at a class-B misdemeanor. If I do it when he’s not home and he did not let me in, I’m looking at a second-degree felony.  

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Now that you know a little bit about how thefts are prosecuted in Texas, you can understand the seriousness of the crime, in some instances. Depending on the intent, the access, and the value of the stolen items, thefts are prosecuted in a variety of ways and punishable as a second degree felony.

If you or someone you know is facing theft charges and are worried about how thefts are prosecuted, you should immediately reach out to Philip D. Ray, local Frisco TX criminal defense attorney. Mr. Ray is an experienced criminal attorney and former prosecutor who will provide you with a skilled and aggressive defense. Call The Law Offices of Philip D. Ray today at (469) 588-6770 for a consultation.