How Prior Theft Convictions Can Affect Current Theft Charges

By Jeff Kennedy

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
  • Misunderstanding
  • Entrapment
  • Duress

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.


Jeff C. Kennedy was the light of hope at the end of very dark storm. He was not only able to defend my case swiftly, but had the alleged charges dismissed completely. His calm and empathetic demeanor offered emotional succor to myself and those I care about most. My children and I are eternally grateful for his excellent service and I hereby recommend Jeff C. Kennedy without reservation.


Jeff Kennedy truly cares. He and his staff kept me informed all the way throughout my case and provided me with all my options and the potential outcomes for my case. When the day finally arrived to resolve my case, Jeff was able to negotiate a reduction to a lesser charge. He was well prepared and coordinated everything perfectly. Jeff is not only a good lawyer, but a good man.


I hired Mr. Jeff Kennedy to handle a DWI charge. From day one, I knew I had picked the right attorney. Jeff always took the time to answer any of my questions, treated me very professionally, and truly cared about my case. I have never been in any kind of trouble before and I was very nervous about the thought of going to trial. Jeff thoroughly explained the entire process to me and made me feel at ease. Jeff took my case to trial and the jury found me NOT GUILTY!


Jeff Kennedy is a professional, intelligent, easy-to-talk-to lawyer with an excellent understanding of how the system works. Jeff was able to get my twice the legal limit BAC thrown out and he kept me from having an interlock device put on my car. This has been my only big mistake in life so far (hopefully the last) and I am glad he was there to walk me through it. You will not regret hiring him.

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