Larceny Laws in Texas
Larceny is seen as common theft. Larceny is the theft of an item with the intent of depriving its owner of their property indefinitely. Furthermore, you could face larceny charges if you fail to perform an affirmative act to prove the item in question wasn’t stolen.
Larceny charges in Texas are designated as misdemeanor or felony thefts depending on the value of property stolen.
Class C Misdemeanor Theft
Stolen property valued at less than $50 or bad cheques written for less than $20 are Class C misdemeanors. These charges will incur a fine of up to $500. No jail time is typically issued for this type of theft.
Class B Misdemeanor Theft
Stealing property worth over $50 but not more than $500 will result in fines up to $2000. A sentence of up to 180 days in a Texas county jail could also be issued.
Class A Misdemeanor Theft
Theft of property valued between $500 and $1500 may result in a maximum fine of $4000. Class A misdemeanors also sometimes result in year-long county jail sentences.
State Jail Felony
Stealing property valued between $1500 and $20,000 is a Texas state jail felony charge. Defendants may spend six months to two years in state jail and/or pay fines of up to $10,000.
Third Degree Felony Theft
Sentences of two to 10 years in state prison are given if you are convicted of stealing $20,000-$100,000 worth of property. A fine of up to $10,000 is also possible.
Second Degree Felony Theft
If you steal property worth anywhere between $100,000 and $200,000, you could spend between two and 20 years in state prison. You could also receive a fine of up to $10,000.
First Degree Felony Theft
Individuals charged with stealing over $200,000 worth of property may be sent to a Texas state prison for up to 99 years. Fines for first-degree felony theft can be up to $10,000.
Modifications to Larceny Charges in Texas
Class C and B theft charges could increase at least one level if you have previous larceny convictions. A Class A misdemeanor theft could be raised to a state jail felony if you have had two prior convictions.
If you steal a firearm, aluminum, copper, or other valuable metals you will be charged with a felony regardless of the item’s value. Texas considers theft of these items an automatic felony.
Using tools to avoid shoplifting prevention devices may increase the severity of a simple shoplifting charge. In Texas, a charge of ‘organized retail theft’ is issued if you and others worked together to steal property. An organized retail theft charge involving property worth $1000 may end up being a felony rather than a misdemeanor.
Why Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer to Fight a Larceny Charge in Texas?
Good criminal defense attorneys can prove lack of intent, mistake of fact, or that you were forced to commit larceny.
Lack of intent means you borrowed somebody’s property temporarily with the intention of returning it, which is not considered theft. A mistake of fact defense involves a defendant who sincerely believed another person’s property belonged to them. A mistake of fact may also have to do with a defendant mistaking an individual for another individual. In these cases, criminal defense attorneys argue that their client stole property because of mistaken identity and lack of intent.
If you or someone you know has been charged with larceny in Texas, seek assistance immediately from the Lawyer Referral Service of Central Texas.