Your Shield Against the State
Plano Theft Defense Lawyer
Theft Defense in Dallas & Collin County
Theft can be charged as a misdemeanor or a serious felony in Texas. If you are facing theft charges, do not hesitate to consult an experienced defense attorney to discuss your legal options. Attorney Johnny Lanzillo is an extensively skilled trial lawyer committed to helping you obtain your best possible outcome as a defendant. He is a passionate fighter who has never worked as a prosecutor, so you can trust that he has been fully committed to the side of the defendant throughout his career. When your future is at risk, work with a lawyer who has your best interests in mind.
Attorney Lanzillo helps clients fight common theft charges, including:
- Auto theft
- Credit card theft
- Gun theft
- Identity theft
- Receiving stolen property
Schedule a free initial consultation with Lanzillo Law, PLLC today to get started on your theft defense.
What Constitutes a Crime of Theft?
Theft occurs when a person unlawfully appropriates property with the intent to deprive the owner of that property. Under Texas law, you can be found to commit theft if you take property that does not belong to you without consent from the property owner or if you do not intend to return it.
Penalties for Theft
Law enforcement bases the punitive penalties for theft charges on the fair market value of the item allegedly stolen. When the fair market value cannot be determined, your punishment will be based on the cost of replacement.
Charges can range from a Class C misdemeanor to a first-degree felony.
- Class C misdemeanor: The value of the stolen property is less than $100; punishable by a fine of up to $500
- Class B misdemeanor: The value of the stolen property is $100-$750 or less than $100 but it is the defendant's second or subsequent theft offense, or the stolen property is an identification card; punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and up to 180 days of imprisonment
- Class A misdemeanor: The value of the stolen property is $750-$2,500; punishable by a fine of up to $4,000 and up to one year of imprisonment
- State jail felony: The stolen property is valued at $2,500-$30,000 or less than $2,500 but it's the defendant's third or subsequent theft offense, or it was stolen from another person or grave or the stolen property is a firearm, election ballot, or certain livestock or metal; punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and 180 days to two years in jail
- Third-degree felony: The value of the stolen property is $30,000-$150,000 or is a controlled substance valued at less than $150,000 and was stolen from a commercial building where controlled substances are stored; punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and two to 10 years in prison
- Second-degree felony: The value of the stolen property is $150,000-$300,000 or the stolen property is an ATM; punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and two to 20 years in jail
- First-degree felony: The value of the stolen property is $300,000 or more; punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment for five to 99 years
Retail theft, or shoplifting, is similarly penalized based on the value of the goods stolen. However, a defendant may face additional civil penalties for the offense. Anyone who commits shoplifting may be civilly liable to the alleged victim as well as incur criminal penalties.
In particular, a theft victim (e.g., a store owner or merchant) has the right to file a civil lawsuit to recover:
- Actual damages caused by the theft (e.g., the retail value of the item if it is not returned in sellable condition)
- A civil penalty of up to $1,000
- Legal fees and costs
Theft cases can arise from a simple misunderstanding but maintaining your innocence even when the accusations are glaringly false can be a challenge. The prosecution and the judge are not on your side and will not have any sympathy for you or the circumstances surrounding the alleged theft.
A criminal theft charge is a steep price to pay for a misunderstanding. You deserve professional support from an experienced theft defense lawyer. Reach out to Lanzillo Law, PLLC for informed and passionate representation to combat your theft charges.
Schedule a free initial consultation with Lanzillo Law, PLLC for more information.