Theft 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.