Theft occurs pursuant to Tex. Pen. Code § 31.03 when persons unlawfully appropriate property belonging to others without their consent and with the intent to deprive the owners of their property. This offense includes what is commonly known as receiving stolen property, or appropriating property with the knowledge that it has been stolen by others.
“Consent” to the appropriation of property does not exist if it was:
• Induced by deception or coercion
• Given by anyone whom the individuals know has no authority to act on behalf of the owner
• Given by anyone whom the individuals know is unable to make reasonable property dispositions, due to youth or mental disease or defect
• Given solely to detect the commission of an offense
• Given by anyone whom the individuals know has a diminished capacity to make decisions as a result of advanced age
The level of the charges and the potential penalties for theft typically depend on the value of the property that is the subject of the theft. However, there are exceptions to this general rule for certain kinds of property. In the case of a firearm, the charge is automatically a state jail felony. This is the case even though theft usually does not reach the level of a felony offense unless it involves property valued at $2,500 or more. Nonetheless, even if a firearm is not worth $2,500 or more, the charge is still a felony.
For a state jail felony, Tex. Pen. Code § 12.35 prescribes a potential penalty of 180 days to two years in jail, as well as a fine of up to $10,000. However, if the individuals who stole the firearm previously were convicted of certain felony offenses, then the offense becomes a third degree felony. Conviction on a third degree felony can result in a prison term ranging from two to ten years and a maximum $10,000 fine.
An experienced Texas criminal defense attorney can help you build a strong defense against any criminal charges. We are here to evaluate the facts surrounding your case, present your options, and help you make the decisions that will be most beneficial to you, based on your circumstances. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445 today and see how we can help.