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Under Texas Law, Can I Face Theft Charges Without Stealing?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Fort Worth receipt of stolen property defense lawyer

We have all heard the funny story about taking a candy bar off the shelf as a child without your mother realizing it until after you left the store. While that may be an innocent act as a young child, theft is taken very seriously in the state of Texas. The penalties depend on the price of the item taken as well as the number of offenses the alleged thief has on his or her record. Theft charges are pretty straightforward: if you take something without paying, you have committed theft. What many people do not know is that you do not have to physically steal in order to find yourself facing theft charges in Texas.  

What Is Receipt of Stolen Property?

The Texas Penal Code describes theft in detail, part of which includes “receipt of stolen property.” According to the law, receiving or concealing stolen items is also considered theft. In other words, you did not have to physically steal an item to be charged. As long as it is in your possession, you may face criminal convictions for theft. In order to enforce this rule, the following guidelines must all be proven to be found guilty of receipt of stolen property: 

  1. The property involved in the case must have been stolen.

  2. The stolen property was received by the individual being accused (the defendant).

  3. The defendant knew or should have known, that the property received was stolen.

  4. The defendant intended to deprive the original owner of the property.

If all four elements cannot be proven, the defendant cannot be found guilty of the charge. The most important part of the defense is “knowing that the property was stolen.” If the person who received the item had no idea that the object was stolen, and the defense attorneys can prove this, a case no longer exists.

What if I Am Convicted?

People convicted of receipt of stolen property face the same charges as the individual who actually did the deed. Because the party knew about the crime and essentially became a participant, he or she is not given any breaks from the law. The following are some of the penalties Texans can face:

  • If the value of the property stolen is less than $100, it is classified as a Class C misdemeanor. This can lead to $500 in fines.

  • If the stolen property is $100 - $750 in value, the value of the property is less than $100 and the defendant has previously been convicted of theft, or the stolen property is a driver’s license, the charge increases to a Class B misdemeanor. Fines can be up to $2,000 and/or no more than 180 days in confinement. 

  • Stolen property valued at $750 - $2,500 is classified as a Class A misdemeanor. This warrants up to one year in confinement and/or a $4,000 fine.

Stolen property with a higher value than those mentioned above becomes a felony charge.

Contact a Collin County Receipt of Stolen Property Defense Lawyer

Being convicted of a theft charge if you never actually stole any property can be life-altering and unfair. Despite not committing the crime, you face the same charges as the individual who did. Proving your innocence in a receipt of stolen property case can be difficult without the help of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. The legal professionals at The Crowder Law Firm, P.C. have more than 20 years of experience and have helped obtain over 200 not-guilty rulings and acquittals for our clients. If you are facing charges of theft or receipt of stolen property in Texas, contact our skilled Dallas theft charges defense attorneys at 214-303-9600 for a free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/PE/htm/PE.12.htm

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/PE/htm/PE.31.htm

 

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