Theft

All states have laws against “Theft,” which is the taking of property (goods or services) with the intent to permanently deprive the rightful owner of the use or possession of said property. Texas is no exception; however, under Texas law, the possible punishment level of the alleged theft is determined by a “value ladder” against which the value of the alleged theft is compared. For instance, an alleged theft of under a value of $100 is charged as a Class C misdemeanor, which is the lowest level crime in the Texas Penal Code and can only be punished by a fine not to exceed $500. An alleged theft under a value of $2,500 is still a misdemeanor, but any value greater than this amount is charged as a felony. An alleged theft over $300,000 in value is considered a first degree felony and carries with it the possibility of punishment of life in prison. As one can easily see, the value of an alleged theft makes a huge difference in the possible range of punishment for the citizen-accused. Here is a summary of the ranges of possible punishments for an allegation of theft:

How Theft Convictions Are Charged 

Less than $100

  • Class C Misdemeanor
  • Fine up to $500

$100 or more – less than $750 

  • Class B Misdemeanor 
  • Up to 180 days in jail / up to $2,000 fine

$750 or more – less than $2,500           

  • Class A Misdemeanor
  • Up to 365 days in jail / up to $4,000 fine

$2,500 or more – less than $30,000       

  • State Jail Felony
  •  6 months – 2 years in prison / up to $10,000 fine

$30,000 or more – less than $150,000       

  • Third Degree Felony
  •  2 years – 10 years in prison / up to $10,000 fine

$150,000 or more – less than $300,000       

  • Second Degree Felony      
  • 2 years – 20years in prison / up to $10,000 fine

$300,000 or more                       

  • First Degree Felony
  • 5 years – 99 years (or life) in prison / up to $10,000 fine

The Consequences Don't Stop There

In addition to these harsh punishment ranges, a theft conviction can have other, long-lasting negative consequences. People with a theft may not be able to get certain jobs because of it. A person with a theft conviction may not be able to get a loan from a bank. A person with a theft conviction may not be able to get a house or apartment lease in his/her name. There are many other potential negative consequences to a theft conviction. This is why someone accused of a theft is advised to hire an experienced, aggressive, dedicated attorney to defend him/her. My firm works to to defend your constitutional rights and has represented dozens of theft cases over the years. When you're accused of theft, I am here to help.