Articles Posted in Theft

padlock-1-960877-s.jpgThe punishment scheme for theft in Texas is relatively straight-forward by statute, which stair-steps from a Class C traffic level all the way up to a first degree felony. The statute says theft is:

“(1) a Class C misdemeanor if the value of the property stolen is less than:(A) $50; …(2) a Class B misdemeanor if:

(A) the value of the property stolen is:

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camera.jpgTheft does not even require that you actually take the property permanently. “Deprive” is defined to mean “(A) to withhold property from the owner permanently or for so extended a period of time that a major portion of the value or enjoyment of the property is lost to the owner; (B) to restore property only upon payment of reward or other compensation; or (C) to dispose of property in a manner that makes recovery of the property by the owner unlikely.” If you take a car without permission and wreck it, there is a good chance you could be prosecuted for theft. If you keep a car wrongfully for so long that it depreciates substantially in value, you can be prosecuted for theft even if you return it. So, be VERY careful if you are in the auto towing or repossession business!

If you or someone you know is being investigated or prosecuted for a crime, call Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist Micah Belden at 903-744-4252.

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crowbar-854266-s.jpgThe Penal Code says that “Consent is not effective if: (A) induced by deception or coercion; (B) given by a person the actor knows is not legally authorized to act for the owner; (C) given by a person who by reason of youth, mental disease or defect, or intoxication is known by the actor to be unable to make reasonable property dispositions; … or (E) given by a person who by reason of advanced age is known by the actor to have a diminished capacity to make informed and rational decisions about the reasonable disposition of property.” So, you cannot gain effective consent by either false pretenses or threats, youth, old age, mental illness or even intoxication.

Deception can be a lot broader than the ordinary meaning of the term. The Penal Code defines it as “(A) creating or confirming by words or conduct a false impression of law or fact that is likely to affect the judgment of another in the transaction, and that the actor does not believe to be true; (not just false words, false impression) (B) failing to correct a false impression of law or fact that is likely to affect the judgment of another in the transaction, that the actor previously created or confirmed by words or conduct, and that the actor does not now believe to be true; (you have to proactively fix what you thought was true) (C) preventing another from acquiring information likely to affect his judgment in the transaction;(D) selling or otherwise transferring or encumbering property without disclosing a lien, security interest, adverse claim, or other legal impediment to the enjoyment of the property, whether the lien, security interest, claim, or impediment is or is not valid, or is or is not a matter of official record; (so you have an affirmative duty to know all easements or other legal clouds on your title, as if you were a title company) or (E) promising performance that is likely to affect the judgment of another in the transaction and that the actor does not intend to perform or knows will not be performed, except that failure to perform the promise in issue without other evidence of intent or knowledge is not sufficient proof that the actor did not intend to perform or knew the promise would not be performed (so contractors are treated a lot easier than property sellers?).

If you or someone you know is being investigated or prosecuted for a crime, call Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist Micah Belden at 903-744-4252.

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silhouette-1191593-s.jpgTheft has many meanings in our everyday vernacular, but under Texas law it is pretty straight-forward. Section 31.03 of the Penal Code consolidated all of the old theft statutes into a more (mostly) simplified version. It states “(a) A person commits an offense if he unlawfully appropriates property with intent to deprive the owner of property. (b) Appropriation of property is unlawful if: (1) it is without the owner’s effective consent; (2) the property is stolen and the actor appropriates the property knowing it was stolen by another…” Thus, you can steal it yourself as always, but in Texas knowingly purchasing stolen property is theft as if you had stolen it yourself.

Theft can be by committed both title transfer or by exercising control over property. “Appropriate” is defined as “(A) to bring about a transfer or purported transfer of title to…; or (B) to acquire or otherwise exercise control over property other than real property….”

If you or someone you know is being investigated or prosecuted for a crime, call Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist Micah Belden at 903-744-4252.

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