Being arrested for theft is scary and can have significant consequences on your life. Before you do anything else, it is important to understand the charges against you. There are several different types of theft in Frisco, including theft by conversion. You should reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you understand your options.
What is Theft by Conversion?
Theft by conversion occurs when an individual lawfully obtains property or funds of another and then converts the property for their personal use without the owner’s permission or lawful justification. An example of theft by conversion is if you rent a car but fail to return it or decide to sell the vehicle and keep the proceeds. A second example is when an investment broker uses his client’s funds or investments for personal use.
There must be sufficient interference with the owner’s right to control to reach the level of theft by conversion in Frisco. For instance, if you bring your car to the autobody shop and they delay delivery by thirty minutes, it is not considered theft.
How is Theft by Conversion Penalized in Frisco?
Historically, Texas categorized theft into separate crimes under the penal code. Today, most theft crimes in Texas are consolidated under Texas Penal Code 31.03, including theft by conversion. The statute defines theft as unlawfully appropriating property with the intent to deprive the owner of the property.
The consequences of theft vary and are primarily dependent on the value of the property taken. The greater the value of the property, the more severe the penalties.
- Under $100 stolen is classified as a class C misdemeanor punishable by community service or a fine of up to $500.
- Between $100 and $750 stolen is classified as a Class B Misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in county jail and a $2,000 fine. Second offenses are also categorized as class B misdemeanors, even if the amount is below $100.
- Between $750 and $2,500 stolen is classified as class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
- Between $2,500 and $30,000 stolen is classified as a state jail felony punishable from 180 days to 2 years in state jail. Additionally, the crime will be classified as a state jail felony, under the following circumstances:
- Theft of a firearm;
- A third theft conviction;
- Any theft under $20,000 if the theft is a metal including aluminum, copper, or brass;
- Theft of an official election ballot;
- Theft from a grave; and
- Certain thefts of livestock.
- Between $30,000 and $150,000 stolen is classified as a third-degree felony punishable by a fine up to $10,000 and two to ten years in state jail. Certain thefts of livestock and controlled substances are also considered third-degree felonies.
- Between $150,000 and $300,000 stolen is classified as a second-degree felony punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and a prison sentence from two to 20 years.
- Over $300,000 stolen is classified as a first-degree felony punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and five to 99 years in prison.
Penalties for theft can be enhanced under certain circumstances in Texas, including:
- Theft by a public servant or official who used his or her status as a public servant or official to accomplish the crime;
- Theft from the government by a government contractor or Medicare provider; and
- Theft from an elderly person or non-profit organization.
Defenses Against Theft by Conversion Charges in Frisco
It is important to find an experienced criminal defense attorney to help fight your charges if you have been accused of theft in Frisco. Below are common defenses against theft by conversion charges.
- The defendant was unaware that the funds or property were the property of another.
- The defendant has a legal right to the property.
- The property was abandoned.
- The defendant had the consent of the property owner.
It is not a defense that the defendant states they would eventually return the funds or property. As long as the defendant had the intent to convert the property and did convert the property, the crime has been committed.
Speak to an Experienced Frisco Attorney
If you or a loved one have been charged with theft, you should immediately reach out to a local Frisco criminal defense attorney. Philip D. Ray is an experienced criminal attorney and former prosecutor who will provide you with a skilled and aggressive defense. He has years of experience defending individuals against theft charges in Frisco, Texas. Call The Law Offices of Philip D. Ray today at (214) 845-7987 for a consultation.