San Antonio Theft Lawyer
In the state of Texas, there are various offenses that could constitute theft. The particular charge a person receives for theft will depend on the value of the items taken, and those convicted of theft charges could face significant time in prison as well as major fines. At Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda, PLLC, our team is standing by to help when you need a San Antonio theft defense attorney. We will investigate every aspect of the charges against you in an effort to get them reduced or dismissed altogether.
Why Hire Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda, PLLC for Your Theft Crime Case?
Facing theft charges alone can be daunting, but the team at Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda, PLLC will be standing by to provide a vigorous defense on your behalf.
- The majority of our practice is dedicated to criminal defense cases, so you can count on an experienced law firm standing by your side throughout the entirety of your case.
- Prosecutors in and around San Antonio know that we mean business when we show up in the courtroom, and this gives us leverage when it comes to securing favorable deals for our clients.
- Our San Antonio criminal attorneys take the time to get to know our clients so that we can form a personalized defensive strategy for every individual case.
Our legal team is not only skilled and aggressive, but also compassionate. We understand what you are feeling, and are dedicated to going above and beyond when in defending you against your theft crimes charge.
Call Hoelscher, Gebbia, Cepeda, PLLC, now. The sooner we start working on your case, the faster we can start collecting on your behalf and begin exploring possibilities for dismissal and avoiding a theft conviction.
How Will An Attorney Help San Antonio Theft Case?
If you have been charged with theft crimes, a skilled San Antonio theft defense lawyer will be an invaluable asset as your case moves forward. By involving a a theft defense lawyer early in the process, you will have an ally by your side who can use their resources to:
- Immediately seek your release from custody
- Obtain and analyze any evidence being used against you by prosecutors and look for any procedural errors made while the evidence was being gathered.
- Conduct an independent investigation and speak to any witnesses to the alleged theft in an effort to build a vigorous defense against the San Antonio theft charge.
- Review the status of the case in order to determine whether to recommend seeking a plea deal or taking the case to trial to ensure the most favorable outcome on your behalf.
- Files any pre-trial motions
- Negotiates a reduction or dismissal of your charges
- Proceeds towards a trial in your case
Remember, to be convicted of a theft crime, a prosecutor needs to prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It is your legal right to have a competent legal defense challenging any charges against you. Hoelscher, Gebbia, Cepeda, PLLC, will provide you with the representation you are entitled to and deserve against the state’s charges.
What is the Legal Definition of Theft in Texas?
In Texas, the word theft refers to a wide range of crimes and various punishments as discussed in detail below. However, most theft crimes have been consolidated into a single legal offense found in section 31.03 of the Texas Penal Code.
In the Texas Penal Code, theft is defined as, “the unlawful appropriation of property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of that property.”
Appropriation of property is unlawful if:
- It is without the owner’s effective consent
- The property is stolen and the actor appropriates the property knowing it was stolen by another
- Property in the custody of any law enforcement agency was explicitly represented by any law enforcement agent to the actor as being stolen and the actor appropriates the property believing it was stolen by another.
Theft Charges And Penalties in Texas
In Texas, there are various different offenses that could constitute theft and lead to criminal charges. All the following actions are considered theft in the state of Texas:
- Issuing bad checks
- General theft
- Purchasing or receiving stolen property
The penalties for theft in Texas depend on the value of the alleged stolen property.
- $1 to $50 – Class C misdemeanor
- $50 to $500 – Class B misdemeanor
- $500 to $1,500 – Class A misdemeanor
- $1,500 to $20,000 – State jail felony
- $20,000 to $100,000 – Third-degree felony
- $100,000 to $200,000 – Second-degree felony
- Over $200,000 – First-degree felony
The penalties and punishments associated with theft charges vary widely. For example, a person convicted of a Class C misdemeanor theft charge may face no jail time and a fine of up to $500. A person convicted of a first-degree felony theft offense in Texas could face up to 99 years in prison as well as a fine of up to $10,000. To learn more information about the specific penal codes that may apply to your case, speak with a qualified theft charges defense attorney today.
Determining Restitution Amounts in Theft Cases
In most theft cases, the Texas Penal Code defines the value of the item taken as the fair market value at the time and place of the offense. Fair market value means the amount that the property would sell for in cash, given a reasonable time for selling it. If that amount cannot be ascertained, then the value might be determined by considering the cost of replacing the property within a reasonable time after the theft.
There are different ways in which prosecutors might prove the value of the item taken. For instance, property owners may sometimes testify about a fair market value or the amount needed to replace the property in question.
Defenses to Theft Charges in Texas
There are several possible defenses an experienced defense attorney may argue against a theft charge in Texas. The defense, or defenses, a defense attorney chooses will depend upon the circumstances of the case.
The following is not a complete list of potential defenses to a theft charge. However, these are some of the more commonly used and successful.
- Honest mistake. The defendant honestly believed that the property belonged to them at the time the incident occurred, and can provide evidence proving this. This defense is a possibility when the defendant borrowed the item but forgot to return it.
- It may also work if a defendant left an item in their purse or shopping bag by accident. Honest mistake is a defense to theft as there is no intent to steal. A key element in theft crimes.
- Returned property. Although returning property may not result in a dismissal of theft charges, it may help a defendant’s case. Returning property may cause a judge to look more favorably on the defendant and agree to a reduced sentence.
- Lack of False Pretenses. Lack of false pretenses only applies to certain theft crimes. For instance, when the defendant is accused of misrepresenting themselves to commit theft, but there is no supporting evidence of misrepresentation. Lack of false pretenses may be used to have the charges dismissed.
- Entrapment. In a theft crime, entrapment is when someone uses an innocent person to commit the theft crime with the intent of getting the innocent person arrested and prosecuted. A successful entrapment defense can result in the dismissal of theft charges.
- Duress. If the defendant was forced under threat of bodily harm to themselves or their family, then the theft crime was committed under duress. Duress in an effective defense to theft charges.
There are other defenses for theft crimes in Texas called offense-specific defenses. This means these defenses only apply to a specific theft crime not theft crimes in general.
Theft crimes with offense-specific defenses include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Tampering with serial numbers. Defenses to this charge are as follows:
- The property owner gave their consent for the defendant to make the changes;
- The defendant was a peace officer acting within the scope of their duties; or
- The defendant was an employee or agent of the Texas Department of Transportation or Texas Department of Motor Vehicles and acting within the scope of their duties in full compliance of department rules.
- Vehicle rental violations. The defense to a vehicle rental violation is the defendant provided a post-dated check or similar sight order to pay for the vehicle rental. However, the rental company presented the check or sight order for payment prior to the date on the check or sight order.
To find out if there is an offense-specific defense to a Texas theft crime, contact an experienced theft crime defense attorney in San Antonio.
What to Do if You are Facing Theft Charges in San Antonio
Theft charges in Texas are taken very seriously and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The consequences of a theft conviction are multi-faceted. You may face time in jail or prison, exorbitant fines and restitution, and a permanent criminal record.
A theft conviction could impact where you choose to work or go to school, and society has a negative stigma attached to theft crimes. If you were charged with any theft crime, it is imperative that you enlist the help of an experienced San Antonio theft crimes lawyer today to improve your chances of avoiding a conviction and protect your future.
Contact Our San Antonio Theft Defense Attorney Today
If you or somebody you love is facing theft charges in or around the San Antonio area, contact a skilled San Antonio theft attorney from our law firm immediately. At Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda, PLLC, we have the experience you need for your criminal defense case in Bexar County. We are ready to use our resources to fully investigate the theft crimes against you so we can help you get back to living your life. When you need a San Antonio theft defense attorney, you can contact us online or by calling (210) 222-9132.