Theft crimes are taken very seriously by prosecutors in Houston and Harris County. These cases can range from shoplifting to copper theft and other items valued in the thousands of dollars.
Houston area law enforcement officers often work very closely with area retailers, particularly the “big box” stores where higher end entertainment systems and clothing are sold. However, theft crimes are not limited to those types of crimes that people typically consider when thinking about theft. They also include
- burglary – Commercial and residential
- bad checks
Because theft offenses are considered “crimes of moral turpitude,” perhaps no charge can hurt someone’s chances of future employment in Houston quite like a theft charge. Fortunately, Mr. Pham has used a multitude of successful defenses to these charges which have often resulted in his clients’ cases being either reduced to a misdemeanor or dismissed altogether. Those defenses have included:
- No force or fear used
- No intent to steal
- Wrong Person arrested
- No theft occurred
Like most states, Texas classifies theft by the value of the goods or services taken. The ranges of punishment for felony and misdemeanor thefts in Texas vary substantially.
If the value of the item is less than $50, Texas considers it a Class C misdemeanor where the maximum punishment is a $500 fine. If the value is over $50 but less than $500, it is a class B misdemeanor in Texas with a sentence of confinement in jail for a term of not more than 180 days a fine of not more than $2,000, or both. Should the value exceed $500 but be less than $1500, the offense is considered a class A misdemeanor in Texas with a sentence of confinement in jail for a term of no more than one year, a fine of not more than $4,000, or both.
For felony offenses, if the value of goods is in excess of $1500 but less than $20,000 the punishment is for a state jail felony with incarceration ranging from 180 days to two years of in a state jail, plus a fine of no more than $10.000. Theft is a felony of the third degree in Texas if the value of the property or services stolen is $20,000 or more but less than $100,000. This also includes theft of certain livestock valued at less than $100,000. The punishment for a felony of the third degree in Texas is incarceration ranging from two to ten years, and a fine of no more than $10.000. For theft cases where the value of the goods or services is between $100,000 and $200,000, it is a felony of the second degree in Texas with two to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of not more than $10.000. Finally, if the value exceeds $200,000, it is considered a 1st degree felony, and the punishment for a felony of the first degree in Texas is five to 99 years of imprisonment with a fine of no more than $10.000.
Hiring an experienced criminal theft attorney like Mr. Pham can often make the difference between incarceration, probation and freedom. If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges for any theft offense, and want an experienced and aggressive criminal defense lawyer, contact Houston theft attorney Michael H. Pham at (713) 236-7791.