The stealing of packages off porches is common around the holidays, but it happens at all times of the year. To combat this issue, Texas recently changed the law regarding mail theft.
In the past, stealing packages resulted in a misdemeanor, which is a criminal offense but is less serious than a felony. Now, based on the number of packages stolen, this charge may result in a felony charge, which typically carries a longer prison sentence and larger fines.
Texas mail theft law details
According to Texas Public Law, the state refers to mail as a letter, bag, postal card, package or sealed article that is meant for delivery or is waiting for receival by the recipient. The act is a Class A misdemeanor if the person of interest stole mail from nine or fewer residences. If stolen from between nine and 30 addresses, it is a state jail felony. It is a third-degree felony if taken from 30 or more places.
If the stolen items contained identifying information and the person of interested intended to use this information to commit a crime, the charge ranges from a state jail felony to a first-degree felony.
Penalties for mail theft
According to CNN, these new felony charges can result in long imprisonment sentences. Penalties range from 180 days in jail to 10 years in prison. The sentencing judge also requires convicted individuals to pay a fine that ranges from $4,000 to $10,000. Penalties are higher if the person stolen from was elderly or disabled.
The state hopes these higher penalties will dissuade more people from stealing packages and other types of mail.