There are many different levels of theft, and various reasons why people commit theft. Theft is the taking of another person’s property without their consent, with the intent to deprive the owner of that property. In my experience, some of my clients have stolen just because they want to, but other times people commit theft out of desperation. For example, there are instances where people steal to help provide for their family. No matter what the motivation may be, theft is a crime and carries severe penalties.
There are a number of different theft crimes that one can commit. In Texas, theft crimes include but are not limited to:
- Identity and employee theft
- Insurance and welfare fraud (fraud in general)
- Unauthorized use of a motor vehicle
- Possessing stolen property
- Robbery or armed robbery
Theft charges can be classified as either a misdemeanor or felony. If you are convicted of felony theft you could have to serve a significant amount of time in prison or probation. If you are convicted of misdemeanor theft, you may have to serve a short jail sentence, may be required to pay a fine, or do community service.
The value of the property stolen is usually the main determinant of what punishment the individual will receive. If the property is worth:
- Less than $50, you can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor
- Between $50-$500, the punishment can be a Class B misdemeanor
- Between $500-$1500, you could face a Class A misdemeanor
- Between $1,500-$20,000, the punishment may be a state jail felony
- Between $20,000-$100,000, you could face a third degree felony
- Between $100,000-$200,000, you could face a second degree felony
- $200,000 or more, can result in a first degree felony
Petty theft and grand theft are two categories that stolen property are grouped into when determining the charge. If you have been arrested for a second petty theft crime the case could be filed as a felony. The charges can become more serious if they are compounded with other charges such as battery.