Texas is strict when it comes to theft. Depending on the value of the package stolen, a person could face anywhere from a misdemeanor to a lifetime in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. If you have been accused of theft this holiday season, contact the Collin County criminal defense lawyers at Rosenthal & Wadas to learn about your options.
What the Law Says
Mail theft is a crime at both the state and federal levels. Therefore, a person could face multiple charges for stealing a Christmas package. Under federal law, 18 U.S. Code § 1708 states that a person who steals or takes any type of mail—including letters, bags, packages and postcards—shall be fined and imprisoned for up to five years. The theft may have taken place at a post office, mail carrier, mail box or other receptacle. Anyone who takes, buys, hides or has in their possession any mail that is known to be stolen will also be charged with theft.
Texas law can be much stricter, depending on the value of the mail stolen. Under Texas law Sec.31.03, theft occurs when a person takes or steals another person’s property to intentionally deprive owner of said property.
If the stolen property is valued at under $100, then the offense is classified as a Class C misdemeanor. This is punishable by a $500 fine. A Class B misdemeanor is reserved for theft of a driver’s license or property valued between $100 and $750. This crime is more serious in nature and results in up to 180 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. A person is charged with a Class A misdemeanor for stealing property valued between $750 and $2,500.
A state jail felony is the charge for theft where property valued between $2,500 and $30,000 is stolen. A person could also face this crime for stealing property from a corpse or for stealing a gun or an election ballot. This crime is punishable by between 180 days and two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
A person can face a third-degree felony if the value of the stolen property is between $30,000 and $150,000, or the property is cattle, horses or livestock, or 10 or more goats, sheep or swine, stolen in a single transaction. The punishment is 2-10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
Theft is a second-degree felony if the value of the property stolen is between $150,000 and $300,000, or the stolen property consists of an automated teller machine, its contents or components. The punishment is 2-20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
The most serious form of theft occurs when the value of the stolen property exceeds $300,000. This is classified as a first-degree felony punishable by 5-99 years in prison as well as a $10,000 fine and probation.
Get Help From a Collin County Theft Attorney for Christmas Theft
Theft is a crime that can affect you for many years—even after you have served your time and paid any fines or restitution. Because this crime involves moral character, you could face issues in your professional life, such as applying for a license as a lawyer, teacher, doctor or financial professional.
There are defenses and other ways to get your charges reduced. Therefore, seek qualified legal advice from an experienced Collin County theft attorney. The criminal defense attorneys at Rosenthal & Wadas will fight for your rights. Contact us today at (972) 369-0577 to schedule a free consultation.