Offenses Against The Property
Laws related to theft in the United States have always been tough, but when it comes to the state of Texas things can get a little rougher than usual. After all, who hasn’t seen nor can forget the posters from the old days that warn: “Wanted for Horse Theft, Dead or Alive.” This isn’t to say that Texans love their horses. They don’t much care for thieves either. And the seriousness they hold their theft laws to doesn’t just hold true in regards to horses. Practically anytime you’re caught taking something that isn’t yours in the state of Texas you’ll probably face serious consequences.
Just for Clarity
Laws pertaining to theft in the state of Texas are very clear. Anytime you take something that doesn’t belong to you, that you intend to deprive the owner of its use, is considered theft and you can expect to be punished. In the state of Texas, the act of theft is considered illegal when three criteria are met:
- The theft took place without the owner’s consent.
- The person taking the property knew the property was stolen.
- Representatives of law enforcement tell the person who received the property that it was stolen.
Differences in Theft
If any of this has you confused, you haven’t seen anything yet, since not only does theft depend on different characteristics, but it’s also dependent on the value of the item stolen. For this reason, if a person steals an item that is less expensive, they can expect to be punished less severely than someone who has stolen something that is more expensive. Similarly, a person who steals a $20,000 car can expect roughly the same punishment as a person who is caught stealing a $20,000 printing press.
In September 2015, the Texas legislature amended several categories of laws, including those that pertained to theft. These amendments increased the values of properties and how they were classed under the terms of the law. For this reason, a person charged with a theft crime today might be charged with a lesser level of theft than they would have prior to passage of this law. It’s also important to note that under these new laws, certain offenses can be included with a theft crime such as a person who could be charged with theft for taking a person’s property while at the same time holding them at gunpoint, which would add to the theft crime.
Another important factor to remember is that just as is the case with any crime, a defendant can get a plea bargain which would lessen the penalty for theft so that they spent less time in custody or have to pay a lesser fine.