Collin County Theft Lawyer | Criminal Defense

Every year, more than 2000 misdemeanor and felony theft cases are filed in Collin County. It ranks up there with DWI and drug possession as the most common type of crime in Collin County. As defense attorneys, that is not a surprising statistic. Theft charges are one of the most prosecuted crimes in the state. That’s partly because Texas’ theft law covers a wide array of unlawful conduct, including theft of personal property, real property, documents, and services. 

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Defending Collin County Theft Cases 

Theft charges in Collin County, Texas, can range from minor misdemeanors to serious felonies, depending on the value of the property stolen and other circumstances surrounding the case. A conviction can have severe consequences, including fines, imprisonment, and a permanent criminal record. If you or someone you know is facing theft charges in Collin County, it’s crucial to understand the legal process and how to defend against these accusations effectively.

Collin County Theft Lawyer

We get calls every day from people facing theft accusations in Collin County and the surrounding North Texas counties. Sometimes it’s for something seemingly petty, like shoplifting at a store. Other times, it’s for a white collar crime, such as stealing large amounts from an employer or business. Regardless of the circumstances, every theft charge must be taken seriously in Texas. Any theft conviction can have long-lasting negative consequences, making it difficult to land the job, school or house you want. Here’s what you need to know about theft charges in Texas and how a Collin County theft lawyer at Varghese Summersett defends theft arrests in Collin County, including Plano, Allen, Frisco, and Wylie.

What constitutes theft in Texas?

Before we discuss the definition of theft, it’s important to understand that Texas has just one statute that applies to all theft-related offenses. Chapter 31 of the Texas Penal Code contains all the definitions and punishments for theft crimes. It’s lengthy and can be confusing, so it’s essential to have an experienced Collin County theft lawyer help you navigate the law and understand this process.

Under Section 31.03 of the Texas Penal Code, a person commits theft if he or she “unlawfully appropriates property with intent to deprive the owner of the property.” Unlawful “appropriation” occurs if:

  1.  The defendant takes property without the owner’s consent;
  2.  The defendant possesses property knowing another person stole it; or
  3.  The defendant takes property in the custody of law enforcement knowing it was stolen.

One of the key takeaways from this definition is that a person can be charged with theft for receiving or possessing stolen items, even if they were not involved in the actual theft. 

What is the punishment for theft? 

The penalty for theft in Texas depends on how much the stolen items or services were worth. The higher the value, the higher the penalty. If more than one thing was taken, prosecutors can also take the totality of the items to arrive at the value. Here’s the breakdown:            

  • Under $100                        Class C  Misdemeanor                $500 fine, no jail time
  • $100-$750                          Class B Misdemeanor                 Up to 180 days in jail
  • $750-$2500                       Class A Misdemeanor                 Up to 1 year in jail
  • $2500-$30,000                 State Jail Felony                          180 days to 2 yrs
  • $30,000-$150,000           Third Degree Felony                   2-10 years in prison
  • $150000-$300,000          Second Degree Felony                2-20 years in prison
  • $300,000+                         First Degree Felony                     5-99 years of line in prison

If you have a prior theft conviction, your charge can be elevated. If you have two or more prior theft convictions, your charge could be elevated two levels. The charges can also be elevated if the victim is elderly, a non-profit organization, a public servant, or a government contractor. Again, it’s important to consult with a skilled Collin County theft lawyer to understand the potential consequences of the accusation fully

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Will a theft conviction impact my ability to get a job?

It could. In Texas, theft is considered a crime of moral turpitude, which basically sends up a red flag to potential employers and others that you are untrustworthy or deceitful. That’s why it is so important to resolve the case in a manner that will not result in a conviction and end up on your record. A Collin County theft lawyer at our firm can explain more in-depth the potential repercussions a theft conviction could have on your future.  

What are some possible defenses to theft?

When reviewing the facts and circumstances of a theft case, our Collin County theft lawyers will look for potential defenses in an effort to get the charges dismissed or reduced at the outset. Possible defenses could include but are not limited to:   

  • Falsely Accused
  • Lack of intent, honest mistake
  • Miscommunication
  • Misunderstanding
  • Proof of purchase
  • Permission
  • Entrapment
  • Duress

Many people charged with theft are also young, first-time offenders. If you fit into this category, you may be eligible for the Collin County pre-trial diversion program, which would result in a dismissal of your case upon completion.

Contact a Collin County theft lawyer for help today.

If you have been charged with theft, it is important to hire a seasoned attorney who has significant experience handling these types of cases. Our team has handled hundreds of misdemeanor and felony theft cases—first as prosecutors and now as highly sought-after defense attorneys. Call 817-203-2220 today for a free consultation. Find out why we are the best at what we do.

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