FORT WORTH, DALLAS THEFT ATTORNEYS
THEY WRITE IT - WE FIGHT IT!
DO NOT TAKE A CLASS C THEFT CHARGE LIGHTLY!
A Class C theft is a theft where the vale of the items alleged to have been stolen is less than $100.00. A class C Theft charge (or Theft Under $100) is a misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $500 and no jail time. The charges typically arise from shoplifting charges or bounced checks. but can be charged any time there is an allegation of an unlawful appropriation of property with an intent to deprive the owner of the property. You can also be charged with theft of services if you are alleged to have obtained service and did not have an intent to pay, for example skipping fare on a taxi.
Even though a Theft Under $100 has minimal consequences on the surface, you do not want to take this charge lightly. Theft at any level is considered a crime of moral turpitude, which refers to conduct that is considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty or good morals. These types of charges may make it especially difficult to keep or get certain types of jobs, especially jobs where you will have to deal with money. You may also encounter problems with getting professional licenses, obtaining loans, getting into or staying in school or even participating in youth activities. Once a conviction for theft is on your record there is no way to get the offense of off your record - when you have been convicted of theft you are considered to be untrustworthy.
When you consider the potential financial harm and damage to your reputation that can come with a class C theft, you owe it to your family and your future to contact the criminal defense attorneys at Hawkins & Walker, PC.
The Texas Theft Act provides civil penalties for theft. It is not uncommon to get a letter from an attorney representing the store where an alleged theft occurred. Under the Texas Theft Act, the store may seek the value for the items that have been stolen, a punitive award of up to $1,000 and attorney's fees. This is in addition to any fine associated with the criminal charge.
Parents, or individuals responsible for the discipline of a child, may be responsible for the value of the actual items taken by a child up to $5,000.
It is important to note that payment of damages to a store will not make the theft charge go away. If you have questions about whether you need to pay damages to the store, feel free to consult with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys.
If you are with a friend who has taken items from a store, you can also be charged with theft under $100 even if you did not have any items in your possession. The theory is that you may have aided your frine in the theft by acting as a lookout or a decoy so that your friend could take the items. While there may be defenses available, the fact that you did not actually take items yourself does not mean the theft charge will just go away.
If you were charged with theft but did not actually take any items, you need to consult with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys about whether you have a defense and how to keep the theft charge off of your record.
Yes. A conviction for a theft charge may result in a subsequent theft charge being enhanced. For example, you previously pled guilty to a class C theft under $100 charge and receive a new charge later. The new charge can be enhanced to a class B misdemeanor based on the previous conviction. This also applies to higher theft charges. For example, a previous conviction on a class C misdemeanor and enhance a new class B misdemeanor to a class A misdemeanor.
This is another reason to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to help keep your theft charges off of your record.
An officer may contact you after the theft to get "your side of the story." We suggest that you NEVER TALK TO AN OFFICER WITHOUT AN ATTORNEY. When you are questioned by an officer, either in person or by phone, the officer is looking to build a case against you and WILL USE ANYTHING YOU SAY AGAINST YOU IF THE CASE GOES TO TRIAL.
If an officer calls to discuss your theft charge, you need to invoke your right to an attorney and call us to discuss the matter with one of our criminal defense attorneys.
It is not uncommon for a retail store to issue a "trespass warning" after a theft charge. This warning prohibits you from entering the property of the retail establishment for a certain period of time. The trespass warning is usually issued by the loss prevention officer at the store in the presence of the responding officer. The store will then look to make sure that you do not enter its property thereafter.
Failure to comply with the trespass warning, or entering the property after being told to stay away, can result in a trespass charge.
After an arrest, you will be brought before a magistrate and most people will plead no contest or guilty. This will result in a conviction and a permanent record of the theft charge and arrest. We can have this plea set aside; however, we must make this request within 10 days of the plea. If you made a plea in jail, you need to contact us immediately.
The most common question that we get is how will this theft charge affect my future? If your theft case is dismissed, though either a straight dismissal or after successful completion of probation or deferred disposition, you can apply for an expunction of the charge. You can also apply for expunction if you are acquitted or found not guilty at trial. An expunction is a separate action where the court orders the records related to the theft charge are to be destroyed. This includes arrest records and reports. After expunction, you can also legally deny that the theft charge occurred. This is important when completing applications for jobs, schools, housing or financial aid/loans.
Click here for more information on expunctions.
If you have been charged with theft under $100 in Fort Worth, Arlington, Dallas or one of the surrounding cities, a criminal defense attorney at Hawkins & Walker is ready to help you with legal advice and representation and we ready to help you fight to keep your record clean.
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If you are facing serious criminal accusations, whether a felony or misdemeanor, state or federal offense, one of our criminal defense lawyers can help you understand your legal options. We are committed to pursuing justice on behalf of all our clients, no matter how difficult or complex your situation may be. We offer completely confidential, cost-free case evaluations to learn more about the specifics of your circumstances.
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