Tex. Pen. Code § 31.03 sets forth the circumstances under which theft is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Under Texas law, the charge depends largely on the value of the goods or funds stolen. Generally, if the value of the items stolen is less than $2,500, then the charge is a misdemeanor; if the value of the items stolen is $2,500 or greater, then the charge is a felony.
There are some additional circumstances in which a theft charge is a misdemeanor or a felony, based on the nature of the items stolen, regardless of their value. For example, if the item stolen is a driver’s license or personal identification certificate, the charge is a Class B misdemeanor. Likewise, if the item stolen is a firearm, grave marker, or an official ballot envelope for an election, the charge is a state jail felony, regardless of the actual value of these items.
There are also items of certain values that do not fall within the general classification rules. For instance, a state jail felony generally is the charge for property valued between $2,500 and $30,000. However, if the goods stolen are copper, brass, aluminum, or bronze in an amount valued at less than $20,000, the charge is a state jail felony.
Some situations outlined in § 31.03 result in the offense being charged at the next higher level of offense, which can move what normally would be a misdemeanor charge to a felony charge. These situations include:
· The perpetrators of the offense were public servants who received the goods within the scope of their official status as public servants.
· The perpetrators of the offense received the goods within the scope of a contract with the government.
· The owner of the property stolen was an elderly individual or a non-profit organization.
· The perpetrators of the offense were Medicare providers who received the goods within the scope of their contract.
· The perpetrators set off a fire alarm, deactivated a fire alarm or retail theft detector, or used a device to shield the goods from a retain theft detector during the commission of the theft.
As you can see, potential consequences of a theft conviction may be quite significant. We are here to ensure that your rights are not violated and minimize any negative consequences that you may face as a result of theft or theft-related criminal charges. The criminal defense lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the legal defense of countless individuals who are facing criminal charges. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf in order to get the best outcome possible in your case. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our criminal defense attorneys today