Austin Theft Lawyer

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Theft accusations can arise in a number of circumstances. Accidentally forgetting to pay for an item in a shopping cart or unknowingly have a child place something in your bag can result in you being charged with theft. A theft crime is a serious offense that should not be taken lightly, regardless of the circumstances. The Law Office of Channing Neary has successfully represented clients accused of theft in the Austin area and can give you the diligent defense that you deserve.

What is a Theft Crime?

A theft crime occurs when you take another person’s property without permission. Theft is considered a crime of “moral turpitude” or dishonesty, and it can affect your ability to get a job, live in certain areas, get into prestigious schools, or apply for loans. A theft charge cannot be expunged from your record if you are convicted of theft or if you receive deferred adjudication. A theft charge can be considered an enhanceable offense given the circumstances of your case. Types of theft crimes include the following:

  •       Theft by check;
  •       Theft of service;
  •       Organized retail theft;
  •       Theft from a person;
  •       Shoplifting;
  •       Extortion;
  •       Receiving or concealing stolen property;
  •       Embezzlement;
  •       Forgery;
  •       Identity theft;
  •       Auto theft;
  •       Car jacking;

…and many other offenses that are considered taking the property of another without permission.

Theft Law in Texas

Theft is defined by Texas Penal Code Sec. 31.03 as the unlawful appropriation of property with the intent to deprive the owner of property. The appropriation of property means that it is taken without the owner’s consent, taken knowing that it was already stolen property, or the property is taken while already in the custody of a law enforcement agent.

Additionally, Texas Penal Code Sec. 31.07 makes the unauthorized use of a vehicle, otherwise known as joyriding or carjacking, a theft crime under the statute. Unauthorized use is defined as intentionally or knowingly operating another’s vehicle without their consent.

Texas Theft Penalties

The state of Texas classifies its penalties for theft based on the value of the stolen property. Also governed by Texas Penal Code Sec. 31.03, punishments for theft crimes range from Class C misdemeanors to 1st degree felonies under Texas law.

Class C Misdemeanor: Value of property is less than $50

  • No jail time
  • Fine up to $500

Class B Misdemeanor: Value of property is between $50 and $500

  • Jail sentence up to 180 days
  • Fine up to $2,000

Class A Misdemeanor: Value of property between $500 and $1,500

  • Jail sentence up to one year
  • Fine up to $4,000

State Jail Felony: Value of property between $1,500 and $20,000 OR property like livestock or firearms valued at $20,000 or less

  • Jail sentence between 180 days and 2 years
  • Fine up to $10,000

3rd Degree Felony: Value of property between $20,000 and $100,000 OR property like livestock or firearms valued at $100,000 or less

  • Prison sentence between 2 and 10 years
  • Fine up to $10,000

2nd Degree Felony: Value of property between $100,000 and $200,000

  • Prison sentence between 2 and 20 years
  • Fine up to $10,000

1st Degree Felony: Value of property more than $200,000

  • Prison sentence between 5 and 99 years
  • Fine up to $10,000

Additionally, if you are found guilty of theft the victim can bring a civil lawsuit against you for money damages under the Texas Theft Liability Act. The victim can be awarded damages that include the actual damages of the theft (the value of the property) and up to $1,000 in added penalties.

An Austin Theft Attorney Can Help

A theft conviction on your record can damage your reputation, your job, and your future. If you or a loved one has been charged with a theft crime in the Austin area, call the office at 512-769-2371 or contact The Law Office of Channing Neary online today for a free and confidential consultation of your case. It is essential to have a hardworking and dedicated defense attorney on your side to provide you with the zealous representation that you need.


Theft Defense Experience

  •       Shoplifting
  •       Extortion
  •       stolen property
  •       Embezzlement
  •       Forgery
  •       Identity theft
  •       Auto theft
  •       Car jacking