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Let the Law Office of Olegario Estrada, P.C. Help You With Your Theft Charge

Theft in Texas is a serious charge. If you face an accusation of a theft crime in Texas, it’s helpful to understand the range of laws and punishments for theft crimes in Texas. Texas recognizes several types of theft charges, with varying degrees of severity.

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Types of Theft Crimes in Texas

  • Issuing Bad Checks
  • Theft of Service
  • Accepting / Purchasing Property That Is Stolen
  • Shoplifting
  • Theft by Deception or False Pretenses

The ranges of punishment for these types of offense are determined by value of the property taken (pecuniary loss) or type of property.


Simple theft, also known as larceny, is the taking of someone else’s property without the right to do so with the intention of permanently depriving the owner of that property. Simple theft may involve:

  • Taking money or property without permission when the owner is absent or not looking
  • Pickpocketing
  • Shoplifting in a store
  • Persuading someone to give you their money or property under false pretenses

The punishment for theft largely depends on the amount of money or value of property stolen. Shoplifting is the most common theft crime charged in Texas. This offense can be described as taking merchandise out of a store without paying the full price set by the store. This means that a person can be accused of shoplifting for disabling an anti-theft device and taking an item out of a store without paying, as well as for switching price tags and paying less than the set amount. A first-time offender who steals less than $100 faces a fine of up to $500; A second offense, however, may subject the defendant to some jail time and a higher fine than that imposed for the first conviction. The theft of larger amounts of money or property and any value of firearms or livestock will be treated as a felony and will require imprisonment, possibly for years, and a $10,000 fine. If you face a larceny charge, we will provide skilled representation that upholds your rights.

Theft of Services

This happens when a person intentionally does not pay for services they acquired. For example, if a person hires a company to come do some cleaning of their home, then never pays the company for the time and labor used to do the cleaning. There are no tangible goods stolen, but the workers are not compensated for the service they provided.


Burglary is the unlawful entry of a home or other public or private building with the intention of committing a theft, assault or felony inside. But burglary is also charged when someone invades an occupied dwelling for the purpose of raping, assaulting or robbing the inhabitants or when someone breaks into a vehicle to steal or strip it. You also commit a burglary if you enter a building legally but remain there longer than permitted, such as by hiding in a department store after hours. The penalties for burglary depend on what is being burglarized and why:

  • A vehicle not used as a dwelling — Up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000
  • A building not used as a dwelling — 180 days to two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000
  • A dwelling — Between two and 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine if the purpose was theft or assault, and five to 99 years if the intent was committing another felony

Robbery occurs when someone committing theft intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes or threatens bodily injury. Aggravated robbery occurs when the defendant uses or displays a deadly weapon or the victim is elderly or disabled. Simple robbery is punishable by two to 20 years in state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000; aggravated robbery by five to 99 years in prison and/or a similar fine. If you are charged with robbery or aggravated robbery, you can rely on me to thoroughly investigate the facts of your case and provide you with a vigorous defense.

Texas Penalties for Theft Crimes

Penalties in theft crime cases are largely contingent on the unique facts and circumstances of your case. In particular, the following factors can influence punishment handed down by the court:

  • The nature of the offense (i.e. shoplifting vs. robbery)
  • The amount of money or value of property involved
  • Prior criminal convictions of theft

These factors are critical in theft crime cases, as they can mean the difference between no incarceration time to years in state or federal prison. For example, prior theft convictions can increase the severity of penalties. Because “theft crime” is an umbrella term that can refer to many different types of state or federal crimes, the following are common theft offenses:

  • Shoplifting
  • Burglary, including burglary of a car, home, or uninhabited building
  • Receiving stolen property
  • Auto Theft
  • Robbery, including armed robbery
  • Fraud, including insurance, tax, and healthcare fraud
  • Embezzlement
  • Money laundering

The charge for theft could range from a misdemeanor all the way up to a first-degree felony.

If the value of the goods is less than $2,500, you will likely be charged with a misdemeanor.

You could face:

  • Up to $4,000 in fines
  • Up to one year in jail

If the goods are valued between $2,500 and $30,000, it will be considered a state-jail felony offense.

This results in:

  • A fine of up to $10,000
  • Up to two years in state jail

If a weapon was used during the commission of the crime, it would be elevated to a standard felony charge.

For goods valued over $30,000, you could be facing felony theft charges. This may result in up to:

  • $10,000 in fines
  • 20 years in prison

If the value of goods stolen is over $300,000, you could be facing first-degree felony charges.

First-degree theft is punishable by:

  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • Up to 99 years in prison

Defending Against Theft Charges in Texas

You need a good criminal defense lawyer to defend you. Let the Law Office of Olegario Estrada, P.C. help you.

Common defenses against theft charges include:

  • That you had no intent to steal, it was an honest mistake
  • That you had right to the property

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