blurred judge in courtroomThis is the third post in a series of articles discussing state jail felony charges in Austin, Texas. My last article reviewed what individuals should understand about state jail felony charges. I also stressed the need to speak with a criminal defense attorney immediately if you or a loved one have been charged with a crime. I consider it important to address this topic as many individuals do not know or appreciate the serious nature of such charges. It is helpful to understand the law regarding such charges and the related penalties if you have been arrested. It is also important to discuss your situation with counsel as soon as possible. This article will address cases stemming from allegations of theft. If you or a family member are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a criminal defense lawyer.

Austin residents can face up to two years in state jail for theft charges

Texas law defines theft as the appropriation of someone else’s money or property without consent. This appropriation must be made with the intent of depriving the owner of the ability to possess and use property that is rightfully theirs. A person charged with theft can be punished with a state jail sentence ranging from 180 days to two years, with a potential fine of up to $10,000. To be charged with this level of offense, the value of the stolen property or services must be less than $2,500 and no more than $30,000. These types of charges can be elevated to higher classes of felonies if there are aggravating factors such as use of a weapon. Higher level felony charges will also apply if the value of the property exceeded $30,000. For example, suppose an individual uses a stolen handgun during a theft. They will face an increased felony theft charge since they used a firearm during the commission of the offense, in addition to the charges for the stolen gun. If you are charged with multiple offenses along with a theft charge or have previous convictions then you may face an extended jail sentence and other additional penalties.

This offense, if convicted, comes with a permanent criminal record and the potential of being barred from owning a firearm. The lasting consequences of a criminal conviction also include the inability to pass a background check. Failing a background check can make it difficult to obtain employment, to gain approval for a housing application, or to pass future security clearances. When selecting counsel, it is important to have someone with experience in such matters. By reaching out to an attorney, you can ensure that your rights are defended and you can help protect against the consequences of a state jail felony theft charge. Depending on the facts of the case, your counsel may be able to defend the case to dismissal or they may be able to negotiate a more favorable outcome.

Retain an attorney immediately if you are charged with theft

I regularly stress that it is important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible if you or a family member have been charged with a crime. The sooner that you retain qualified legal counsel then the sooner they may begin building a defense on your behalf. This may include visiting the scene of the offense, interviewing witnesses, reviewing discovery, filing any necessary pre-trial Motions, meeting with experts and more. A lawyer will also be able to handle any Miranda-related challenges if you were not read your rights or they may challenge a search if your property was obtained through an unlawful search and seizure. These are just a few examples of how hiring an attorney can help ensure that your legal rights remain protected.

My law firm practices exclusively in the area of criminal defense. We are dedicated to representing the accused and providing quality service. I understand that this is a serious time in your life and I look forward to helping you through this process. If you or someone you love has been arrested, contact my office today online or by telephone to speak with an Austin criminal defense attorney. I am Board Certified in Criminal Defense by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and have been licensed to practice law since 1995. My office also serves the cities of Rollingwood, Round Rock, Elgin, Jonestown, Manor, Bee Cave, Lago Vista, Sunset Valley, Lakeway, Creedmoor, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Leander, and San Marcos, Texas.