Are you facing a theft charge in Plano, Texas? Even a seemingly minor theft conviction can have a lasting impact on your life. It isn’t just your freedom on the line; it’s also your good name and ability to keep your career or get a new job.
When you are accused of theft, the Edgett Law Firm is here to give you the vigorous legal defense you deserve. We have successfully handled over 5,000 cases with a reputation among local judges and prosecutors. Call our law office today to schedule a free case review with a Plano theft crimes lawyer who can help.
How a Plano Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help When You Are Facing a Theft Charge
When you are facing a theft conviction in north Texas, you may feel overwhelmed and hopeless. The prosecuting attorney has seemingly unlimited resources and little sympathy as they seek your conviction. If convicted, you may face jail time along with significant fees, a civil claim, and a criminal record that damages your name.
At the Edgett Law Firm, we believe you are innocent until proven guilty and deserve the best possible defense.
A Plano defense attorney can help you fight back against the charges you are facing with a defense built on as much evidence and legal arguments as possible. We have successfully handled more than 5,000 legal cases over a decade with a sterling reputation among local prosecutors and judges.
You do not have to face the criminal justice system alone. When you hire the Edgett Law Firm, you can count on our team of criminal defense attorneys to:
- Conduct a thorough investigation of your case
- Collect and analyze evidence to prove an alibi, create reasonable doubt, and build your defense
- Search for and use weaknesses in the case against you
- Negotiate with the prosecuting attorney to have your charges dismissed or reduced or reach a fair plea deal
- Represent you in court and present your case before a jury
Even a misdemeanor theft conviction can carry serious repercussions. Contact the Edgett Law Firm today to speak with a Plano criminal defense lawyer who will fight for you and your rights. We serve clients in Plano and across Denton County, Collin County, and Dallas County, too.
Common Plano Theft Crimes
Texas law covers many possible theft offenses. These criminal offenses range from simple misdemeanor thefts that are punishable by fines up to serious first-degree felonies with a potential sentence of life in prison. Under Texas Penal Code Section 31.03, someone has committed theft by “unlawfully appropriating property with intent to deprive the owner of property.” This definition allows theft to be charged under many circumstances.
Theft in Plano can involve a white collar crime like embezzlement, a crime with a violent component like robbery, or simple shoplifting.
The most common form of theft is shoplifting. The Texas Penal Code defines shoplifting as removing merchandise from a retail store without paying the full price. This may be done by concealing the merchandise and leaving to store or changing the price tag to pay a lower amount.
Shoplifting may be a Class C misdemeanor to a first-degree felony depending on the value of the property stolen. The charge can be upgraded if you have two or more prior theft convictions. Possession or distribution of a shoplifting instrument, such as a tool to deactivate detectors or remove security tags, is a Class A misdemeanor.
Note that you may also face a lawsuit from the property owner under the Texas Theft Liability Act.
Receiving Stolen Property
Under Texas law, you can be charged and convicted of theft without actually committing the theft. Receiving or purchasing stolen property is a crime. However, it is only a crime if you knew or had reason to believe the item you received or purchased was stolen.
For example, if you purchase an item off an online classifieds site like Craigslist and it’s advertised at close to market value, you have no reason to suspect the item is stolen. However, if someone is selling multiple, unopened items of the same type at a price that’s too good to be true, a prosecutor may say you had reason to suspect the items were stolen.
Receiving stolen property is usually punished as severely as actual theft and may be a misdemeanor or felony.
Texas Penal Code Section 29.02 defines robbery as a theft that involves recklessly or intentionally causing bodily injury, threatening injury, or placing someone in fear of imminent harm. This is a second-degree felony in Plano.
If the robbery leads to serious injury, is committed against someone who is elderly or disabled, or a deadly weapon is used, it is upgraded to a first-degree felony.
Stealing a vehicle, including a boat, is a serious crime in Texas. No matter the value of the vehicle, it is a state jail felony. Texas Penal Code Section 31.07 defines auto theft as the theft or unauthorized use of a vehicle to intentionally operate someone’s vehicle without their effective consent.
There are about 450 reported vehicle thefts in Plano every year.
Burglary is entering a residence or building not open to the public (or concealing yourself in a building) with the purpose of committing theft, assault, or a felony. Burglary is a state jail felony in most cases, but burglary of a home is upgraded to a second-degree felony.
Penalties for Theft Crimes in Plano
Theft offenses in Plano, Texas have very stiff penalties, even at the misdemeanor level. You may also face an enhanced punishment if you have a prior criminal record, a weapon was used during the crime, or the victim was elderly or disabled.
The penalty of a theft conviction in Plano depends on the value of the stolen property. This is the most important factor in deciding whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony.
With a general theft charge, the value of the property determines the misdemeanor level, although there are possible penalty enhancements.
A Class C misdemeanor is charged for theft under $100. A conviction is punishable by a fine of up to $500.
A Class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to 180 days in jail. This punishment applies to:
- Theft of a driver’s license or identification certificate (such as a birth certificate)
- Theft between $100 and $749
- Theft below $100 if you have a prior theft conviction
A Class A misdemeanor is charged for theft between $750 and $2,499. This is punishable by up to 12 months in jail.
Felony theft conviction comes with very severe penalties. Certain types of thefts are automatically felonies, regardless of the item’s value.
In Texas, a state jail felony is punishable by 180 days to 2 years in a state jail. This felony is charged for:
- Theft of any firearm
- Theft with 2 prior theft convictions, even misdemeanors
- Property stolen from a grave, corpse, or a person
- Theft of an election carrier envelope or ballot
- Theft of aluminum, bronze, copper, or brass under $20,000
- Theft between $2,500 and $29,999
If you are convicted of a third-degree felony, you face 2 to 10 years in prison. This felony is charged for:
- Some livestock thefts under $150,000
- Controlled substances under $150,000 stolen from a wholesale drug distributor vehicle or a commercial property like a nursing home
- Theft between $30,000 and $149,999
Second-degree felonies can be punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison. This felony is charged for theft of an ATM or its contents or theft between $150,000 and $299,999 in value.
The most serious type of theft is a first-degree felony. This is punishable by 5 to 99 years or life in prison for theft exceeding $300,000.
Certain circumstances can increase a theft offense to the next punishable level. This includes a perpetrator who was a Medicare provider, in a government contract, or a public servant at the time of the theft offense.
Possible Defenses to a Theft Charge in Plano
While the prosecution’s goal is to see you convicted and impose the harshest penalties allowed, a Plano theft defense attorney will serve as your advocate to fight the case against you. At the Edgett Law Firm, our theft crimes defense attorneys have years of experience defending clients against criminal charges. We use our legal experience, insight, and knowledge of the law to help you explore defenses to the charges you face.
There are many possible defenses to theft under Texas law. In simple theft cases like shoplifting, you may have unintentionally left the store with merchandise you hadn’t paid for. Someone else may have switched price tags then left the item altered after abandoning their intentions. If you are charged with theft by check, you may not have known you had insufficient funds in your account in which case you had no intention to deprive the property owner of the money they were due.
Your Plano theft crime defense lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation of your case and discuss possible defense strategies with you to build the strongest defense possible.
Contact a Plano Theft Crimes Lawyer Today
With your freedom and good name on the line, you deserve the best legal defense possible. At the Edgett Law Firm, we will help you fight against the charges you face and protect your legal rights as you navigate the criminal justice system.
Contact our law office today to schedule a free initial consultation with an aggressive Plano theft crimes lawyer. We will discuss your case with you and help you plan the next steps in your case.