Bryan Theft Crime Lawyer

In Bryan, Texas, theft crime charges encompass a range of offenses, from shoplifting to embezzlement, each carrying its own set of legal consequences. Being charged with theft in Bryan can profoundly impact a person's life, extending beyond potential fines and imprisonment. Seeking legal representation from an experienced Bryan theft crime lawyer is crucial to safeguarding one's rights and pursuing a favorable outcome.

A theft conviction can tarnish one's reputation, affecting future job prospects, housing opportunities, and even personal relationships.

A common example of theft in Bryan includes retail theft, where individuals may be accused of stealing merchandise from stores. Additionally, property theft, such as stealing a bicycle or breaking into a vehicle to steal valuables, is another prevalent type of theft crime in the area. Embezzlement, wherein an individual misappropriates funds or property entrusted to them, is also a serious offense that can lead to theft charges in Bryan.

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Why Choose a Bryan Theft Crime Lawyer from the Law Office of Shane Phelps?

Team of Bryan Theft Crime Lawyers at the Law Office of Shane Phelps

When facing theft crime charges in Bryan, a skilled attorney can assess the specifics of the case, challenge evidence, and formulate a tailored strategic defense. From negotiating plea deals to representing clients in court proceedings, a dedicated Bryan criminal defense lawyer from the Law Office of Shane Phelps can provide invaluable support and advocacy every step of the way.

We work to protect your interests and uphold your rights in pursuit of justice. Call us today at 979-773-7028 for a free consultation. We will fight for you.

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Our Law Office in Bryan, Texas

The Law Office of Shane Phelps, P.C., is located at 400 N. Washington Avenue, Bryan, TX 77803. We are in the heart of Bryan, at the corner of E. 23rd Street. Contact us for a free consultation.

Theft Crimes in Bryan, Texas

Theft Crimes in Bryan, TX

According to Texas Penal Code § 31.03, a person commits theft if he/she unlawfully steals or confiscates property with intent to deprive the owner of property. The state classifies its theft offenses based on the value of the appropriated property or services.

Under Texas law, several common types of theft crimes include:

  • Shoplifting: This involves stealing merchandise from a retail establishment, such as concealing items and leaving the store without paying for them.
  • Burglary: Burglary involves unlawfully entering a building, vehicle, or other premises with the intent to commit theft, assault, or another felony.
  • Robbery: Robbery occurs when a person unlawfully takes property from another person through force, threat, or intimidation.
  • Auto Theft: This involves stealing or unlawfully taking a motor vehicle without the owner's consent.
  • Identity Theft: Identity theft occurs when someone unlawfully obtains and uses another person's personal or financial information for fraudulent purposes.
  • Embezzlement: Embezzlement involves the misappropriation of funds or property entrusted to one's care, often by an employee or fiduciary.
  • Forgery: Forgery entails the fraudulent alteration or creation of documents, signatures, or other items with the intent to deceive for financial gain.
  • Theft by Check: This occurs when a person writes a check with insufficient funds or with the knowledge that it will not be honored, with the intent to obtain goods or services.

These are just a few examples of theft crimes outlined in Texas law. Each offense carries its own set of penalties and legal considerations, and individuals accused of theft should seek legal counsel to understand their rights and options.

Consequences of a Theft Crime Conviction

The consequences of a theft conviction are serious. Along with jail time and fines, a permanent mark on your criminal record can have severe repercussions on your reputation. The following are penalties based on the value of property stolen:

  • Less than $50 – Class C misdemeanor
    • No jail time
    • Fine of up to $500
  • Between $50 and $500 – Class B misdemeanor
    • Maximum jail sentence of 180 days
    • Fine of up to $2,000 
  • Between $500 and $1,500 – Class A misdemeanor
    • Maximum jail sentence of one year
    • Fine of up to $4,000 
  • Between $1,500 and $20,000 – State jail felony
    • Between 180 days to two years in jail
    • Fine of up to $10,000 
  • Between $20,000 and $100,000 – Third-degree felony
    • Between two to 10 years in prison
    • Fine of up to $10,000 
  • Between $100,000 and $200,000 – Second-degree felony
    • Between two to 20 years in prison
    • Fine of up to $10,000 
  • More than $200,000
    • Between five to 99 years in prison
    • Fine of up to $10,000

Collateral Consequences of a Theft Crime Conviction

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Beyond the immediate penalties of jail time and fines, a theft conviction in Texas can have far-reaching collateral consequences. One notable repercussion is the difficulty in securing employment. Many employers conduct background checks on prospective employees, and a theft conviction can raise red flags and deter employers from hiring you. 

This is especially true for positions that involve handling finances or sensitive information. Even if you obtain employment, certain industries or professions may be off-limits due to restrictions on hiring individuals with criminal records.

A theft conviction can also lead to the loss of professional licenses or certifications, particularly in fields where trust and integrity are paramount, such as finance, healthcare, or education. Licensing boards may revoke or suspend your license, effectively barring you from practicing your chosen profession and limiting your ability to earn a livelihood in your trained field.

Additionally, individuals with theft convictions may encounter challenges in obtaining housing. Landlords and property management companies often conduct background checks on rental applicants, and a criminal record, especially one involving theft, can lead to denials or restrictions on housing options.

Consequences of a Theft Conviction for Non-Citizens

For non-citizens, a theft conviction in Texas can have severe implications on their immigration status, potentially leading to deportation and other immigration consequences. Under federal immigration law, certain criminal convictions, including theft offenses, can render non-citizens deportable or inadmissible to the United States.

A theft conviction may trigger deportation proceedings if it falls under one of the grounds of deportability listed in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). These grounds include crimes of moral turpitude, aggravated felonies, and crimes involving fraud or deceit. Theft offenses are generally considered crimes of moral turpitude, which are offenses that involve dishonesty, deceit, or depravity.

Depending on the circumstances and severity of the theft offense, a non-citizen may face removal proceedings initiated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

In addition to deportation consequences, a theft conviction can also impact a non-citizen's ability to obtain lawful permanent residency (green card) or citizenship. Certain theft convictions may make a non-citizen ineligible for certain immigration benefits or relief, such as adjustment of status, waivers, or cancellation of removal.

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Navigating the legal process after being charged with a theft crime in Texas involves several key stages, each with procedures and potential outcomes. Here is what you can generally expect when facing theft crime charges:

  • Arraignment: The arraignment is typically the first court appearance after being charged with a theft crime. During this hearing, the charges against the defendant are formally presented, and the defendant is informed of their rights. They are also allowed to enter a plea, which can be "guilty," "not guilty," or "no contest."
  • Pre-Trial Motions: Pre-trial motions are legal arguments made by the defense or prosecution before the trial begins. These motions can include requests to suppress evidence, dismiss charges, or change the venue of the trial. The judge will hear arguments from both sides and make rulings on these motions.
  • Plea Negotiations: Before trial, the prosecution and defense may engage in plea negotiations. This involves discussions between the defendant's attorney and the prosecutor to reach a mutually acceptable plea agreement. The defendant may agree to plead guilty or no contest to reduced charges in exchange for a lighter sentence or other concessions.
  • Trial Procedures: If a plea agreement cannot be reached, the case will proceed to trial. Theft crime trials in Texas typically follow a similar structure, including jury selection, opening statements by the prosecution and defense, presentation of evidence, witness testimony, closing arguments, and jury instructions. Both sides can present their case and challenge the opposing party's evidence and arguments.
  • Sentencing Hearing: If the defendant is found guilty at trial or decides to plead guilty, a sentencing hearing will be scheduled. During this hearing, the judge will consider various factors, including the severity of the offense, the defendant's criminal history, and any mitigating or aggravating circumstances. The judge will then impose an appropriate sentence, which may include fines, probation, community service, or incarceration.

Throughout the legal process, you need to have an experienced theft crime defense attorney to advocate for your rights and interests. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can guide you through each stage of the process, provide sound legal advice, and work toward achieving the best possible outcome for your case. 

Mounting a Defense for Theft Crime Charges

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When facing theft charges in Bryan, Texas, there are several legal defenses your lawyer might use to challenge the accusations against you. Some common defenses include:

  • Mistaken Identity: This defense asserts that you were misidentified as the perpetrator of the theft. For example, your lawyer may argue that you were not present at the scene of the crime or that you were confused with someone else who committed the theft.
  • Lack of Intent: Theft offenses typically require proof of intent to permanently deprive the owner of their property. If your attorney can demonstrate that you did not have the requisite intent to steal, they may be able to argue lack of intent as a defense. For instance, they may claim that you believed the property belonged to them or that you had permission to take it.
  • Consent: If the property was taken with the owner's consent or under circumstances where you reasonably believed you had permission to take it, your defense lawyer may assert consent as a defense. This defense is often used in cases involving disputes over ownership or misunderstandings about permission to use the property.
  • Claim of Right: The claim of right defense involves asserting that you honestly believed you had a lawful claim to the property, even if that belief was mistaken or unreasonable. For example, your attorney may argue that you believed you were reclaiming your own property or that you were entitled to the property under a contract or agreement.
  • Duress or Coercion: In some cases, individuals may commit theft under duress or coercion, such as being threatened with harm if they do not steal the property. This defense requires evidence that you acted under a genuine fear of imminent harm and had no reasonable alternative but to commit the theft.
  • Entrapment: Entrapment occurs when law enforcement officers induce or coerce someone into committing a crime they would not have otherwise committed. If your lawyer can show that you were persuaded or coerced by law enforcement to commit the theft, they may be able to raise an entrapment defense.

These are just a few examples of the legal defenses a seasoned theft crime lawyer can use when handling these kinds of cases in Texas. Each case is unique, and the effectiveness of a defense will depend on the specific circumstances and evidence involved.

Contact the Law Office of Shane Phelps to Talk to a Theft Crimes Attorney

If you have been charged with a theft crime in Texas, our Bryan theft crime defense lawyers are dedicated to protecting your rights and freedom. The Law Office of Shane Phelps stands as a steadfast ally for individuals navigating the complexities of the criminal justice system.

Located in Bryan, our firm boasts a team of dedicated attorneys accessible and available to communicate with clients every step of the way. Backed by years of experience and a proven track record of success, the attorneys at the Law Office of Shane Phelps have the knowledge and skill necessary to navigate the intricacies of theft crime defense.

From investigating the facts of the case to crafting compelling legal arguments, our attorneys leave no stone unturned in pursuit of the best possible outcome for our clients. Call Shane Phelps Law today at 979-773-7028 or contact us online to schedule a free confidential consultation.

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