October 13, 2023
Petty theft is a common term in criminal law, and this is no different in Texas. Petty theft charges range based on the amount of the item that was stolen. This means that you could face hundreds of dollars in fines and possibly even jail time if the charge is upgraded to a felony. The criminal defense team at Scott Magee, Attorney at Law PPC, explains petty theft and can help you fight this charge in Texas.
The most basic definition of petty theft is the taking of an item or money from someone without their consent and with the intent of preventing them from ever having that item in their possession again. Petty theft separates itself from other forms of theft by the value of the items stolen.
Texas law defines petty theft as the taking of an item or money that has a value of $100 or less. Common petty theft crimes include the theft of a wallet, shoplifting, or other items valued at $100 or less. A theft of this kind often leads to a Class C misdemeanor charge and a fine of no more than $500.
As mentioned earlier, one of the most common examples of petty theft is shoplifting. However, petty theft also includes the taking of items left in vehicles, such as purses, wallets, or electronic devices. Petty theft also includes borrowing someone’s property without their permission and refusing to return it to them when asked. This is known as misappropriation.
You should note that not all instances of taking property are considered criminal and will lead to charges. For example, if you picked up someone else’s hat at a party thinking it was yours or you walked away with someone else’s shopping cart instead of the one you had in the supermarket. These are honest mistakes that should never lead to criminal charges of petty theft.
How the penalties are assigned for a petty theft conviction in Texas varies based on your criminal record and where the incident happened. For the most part, petty theft will be charged as a misdemeanor, and you can face the following penalties if convicted:
There are different types of theft in Texas. These include the following:
As with any criminal charge, you deserve to be represented by an experienced criminal defense attorney for a petty theft charge. Texas takes theft very seriously, and you do not know the ins and outs of the law enough to represent yourself. Criminal defense law is a serious matter. You do not want to risk your rights and freedom by representing yourself in court.
One of the most important roles of a criminal defense attorney is to gather evidence. Evidence is important to fight any type of criminal charge, especially a petty theft charge. Common types of evidence that can help you right such a charge include the following:
It can be daunting defending yourself when charged with a crime, especially if you want to talk to the prosecutor assigned to your case. You should never speak with the Williamson County prosecutor without your defense attorney handling all communications.
The prosecutor does not want to hear why you allegedly stole items. They just want to charge you with the crime, make sure you are convicted, and move to the next case. A criminal defense attorney will ensure that you do not have to communicate with the prosecutor. They will do it on your behalf.
You might be able to plead to a lesser charge or have the charge dropped when you work with a criminal defense attorney. You will not know the options available if you decide to represent yourself, which is never a good idea. A defense lawyer knows the levels of charges and subsequent penalties. This makes it easier to hopefully get the charges reduced or dropped.
As mentioned earlier, if you already have a criminal record, it can be used against you when determining the penalties imposed. Penalties range from hundreds of dollars in fines to jail time. If you have a lengthy record of theft convictions, the court might decide to impose fines of $500 or more and weeks to months in jail. When you work with a criminal defense attorney, they might be able to obtain reduced penalties for you if you have a criminal record.
It is not always easy to find the right lawyer for your case; however, there are certain things you should be looking for when charged with petty theft in Texas.
Experience is an important factor when looking for the right criminal defense lawyer. You want a lawyer who knows the local ordinances and statutes, has defended clients in the local court system, and has worked cases involving the prosecutor assigned to your case.
You especially want to find a lawyer who knows how to communicate effectively. Whether it is the lawyer or a member of their team who contacts you, communication is very important. You do not want to be left in the dark when fighting a petty theft charge in Texas.
It is important that you review the lawyer’s client testimonials before choosing who will represent you in a petty theft case. Client testimonials help to tell the story of how effective the criminal defense lawyer has been with previous clients who have faced the same charges.
Do not let a petty theft charge ruin your life or prevent you from enjoying your freedom. Talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney about your case as soon as possible so you can build a defense to the charge.
Were you charged with petty theft in Texas? You deserve to have your rights protected, no matter the charge or the circumstances. Talk to a criminal defense attorney in Williamson County, Texas, about your case. Call the office of Scott Magee, Attorney at Law PPC, or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation today.
Contact R. Scott Magee, Attorney at Law, to receive expert guidance and dedicated representation for your criminal defense case.
Categories: Criminal Defense