If you’re currently facing theft charges, you might have some questions about the types of consequences you could be facing, as well as how prior convictions could impact your current charge.
These are valid questions, as prior criminal history does play a role in the penalties you could receive, as well as whether you’re eligible for certain programs. For example, if you’ve had any prior convictions, you won’t be eligible for certain first-time offender programs.
Prior Charges Can Impact Your Current Charge
When you are charged with a crime that you have previously been convicted of, your penalties will likely be higher this time around. For example, first-time DWI charges are less severe than a secondary DWI charge. The same is true of theft crimes, though the penalties are not quite as extreme.
Theft in Texas is charged according to the value of the item taken, so your charge could be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the value. For example, a stolen item worth $50 or less is charged as a Class C misdemeanor. A stolen item of between $50 and $500 value is a Class B misdemeanor, and so on.
But, that doesn’t mean that you can continue stealing low-value items and only be charged with misdemeanors. If you are deemed a repeat offender, your charge can be bumped up to a felony theft crime.
When Does a Larceny Crime Become a Felony?
As stated, if you steal a high-value item your crime will be charged as felony. However, after two or more prior theft convictions you will be charged with a state jail felony at the minimum, regardless of the value of the item taken. Additionally, if you steal from a corpse, you will be charged with a state jail felony, no matter the value of the item.
Other circumstances that can bump your crime to felony status regardless of item value are as follows:
- You stole an item by abusing your position of authority or trust, such as stealing from an employer.
- You stole an election ballot.
- You stole a firearm.
Defenses Against Theft Conviction
Prior charges will impact the crime you are ultimately charged with, regardless of the item’s value. In addition, you won’t be eligible for certain programs if you’re a repeat offender, and you could receive harsher penalties. If you’ve been charged with a repeat theft offense, you will want to speak with an attorney about your case.
If you’re convicted of theft, you could be facing some hefty fines and jail or prison time, depending on the circumstances of your case. However, there are defenses against conviction of theft. The following are a few defenses your lawyer could use in your case:
- Mistake of fact
- False accusation
- Miscalculated item value
Speak to a Theft Attorney in Texas
Facing theft charges? Get help fighting your charges today. Contact The Law Offices of Jeff C. Kennedy to discuss your defense. Dial 817-605-1010, or reach out to our firm via the form below.