Unlike many other states, Texas doesn’t actually discriminate between different kinds of theft. Whether a case involves a robbery, shoplifting, or embezzlement, offenses involving the unlawful taking of someone else’s property are typically charged as theft. The exact charges that a person faces, however, will differ depending on the value of the items that were allegedly taken. Although first-time theft offenses often fall under the category of a misdemeanor, they should still be taken seriously, as conviction can result in jail time and fines, making it especially important for those who have been accused of a theft offense in Texas to speak with an experienced Houston misdemeanor crimes lawyer about building a strong defense.
Class C Misdemeanor Theft
The least serious form of theft is known as petty theft and involves cases in which the value of the items allegedly taken is less than $100. Petty theft is charged as a Class C misdemeanor in Texas and will typically be handled in a municipal court. If convicted, a person could be sentenced to community service and a fine of up to $500.
Class B Misdemeanor Theft
Unlawfully taking items worth more than $100 can be charged as a Class B misdemeanor, but only if the value doesn’t exceed $750. The only exceptions to this are when:
- A defendant has previously been convicted of any theft crime; or
- The property that was allegedly stolen is a driver’s license, personal identification certificate, or commercial driver’s license.
In these situations, even if the items were worth less than $100, a defendant will most likely be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. This offense is much more serious than a petty theft charge, as conviction comes with a potential $2,000 fine and as many as 180 days in county jail.
Class A Misdemeanor Theft
Class A misdemeanors are the most serious type of misdemeanor offense with which a person can be charged. When it comes to theft, a crime will fall under this category if the value of the stolen items is more than $750, but less than $2,500. Shoplifters who use deactivating or shielding instruments can also be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, regardless of the value of the items that were allegedly taken. Conviction for this offense comes with a $4,000 fine and up to a year in jail.
It’s important to note that even if the value of the stolen property in question is less than $2,500, a defendant could have his or her charges enhanced from a Class A misdemeanor to a felony if he or she has been convicted on two or more occasions of any form of theft.
Set Up a Consultation Today
Being accused of theft is a serious matter. Fortunately, it is often possible to avoid felony charges for first-time offenders and in many cases, defendants are able to have their criminal records expunged. To learn more about how to protect your own interests after being accused of a theft crime in Texas, please call (281) 280-0100 and speak with a member of the dedicated Houston misdemeanor crimes legal team at The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates today.