What Does Texas Law Consider as Theft?

Texas laws are stricter than those of most other states. This sentiment holds true for theft and larceny.

According to¬†FindLaw, theft, or “larceny,” as state law refers to it as, occurs when one person takes property with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it. However, the law further expands the definition to include when else theft might occur, as well as what value of property a person must take for the state to charge him or her with a crime.

Third party theft

In Texas, you do not have to physically steal property yourself for the state to find you guilty of theft. If you acquire property with the knowledge that the property was stolen by someone else, the state may charge you with larceny. For example, say you buy a piece of property off a friend knowing full well that said friend stole the item. You are guilty of theft as much as your friend is.

Texas also considers it theft when a person fails to perform an affirmative act that would prove that an item they purchased or acquired through some other means had not been stolen. For instance, say you buy a car and the person who sold you the vehicle fails to turn over a properly executed certificate of title. You have a legal duty to report this failure to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. Your failure to do so may result in theft charges. Likewise, if you fail to file with the county tax assessor within 20 days of purchasing the vehicle, you may be guilty of theft.

Value makes no difference

In Texas, if you steal an item with a value of just $1, the rightful owner has the right to press charges against you, and the state may prosecute. Theft of anything with a value of less than $50 is a Class C misdemeanor. The charges grow more severe as the value of the stolen property goes up.

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