In June of 2019, Governor Greg Abbott signed into law a bill that will increase the charges and penalties for appropriating mail or packages from a person’s porch or mailbox without their consent. Beginning on September 1, 2019, depending on the number of addresses a person takes items from, they could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony and could face steep fines and/or prison time. The punishments will also increase if a person knowingly commits this type of theft against a disabled or elderly individual.
Before the bill was introduced, Texas did not have a legislation specifically aimed at mail theft. The new law not only addresses packages taken from someone’s home but also gives the state jurisdiction for handling these types of matters – they were previously referred to federal authorities.
Potential Conviction Penalties
When the new law comes into effect, if a person takes packages or mail from less than 10 different addresses, they will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. Violators could face up to 1 year in county jail and up to $4,000 in fines.
Charges and penalties increase with the number of addresses an individual takes mail or a package from.
The punishments are as follows:
- 10 to 29 addresses: State jail felony, which is punishable by 2 years to 180 days in state jail and/or up to $10,000 in fines
- 30 or more addresses: Third-degree felony, which is punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison and/or up to $10,000 in fines
An individual could also face increased penalties if they took something that contained someone’s name, date of birth, biometric data, Social Security number, or any other identifying information with the intent to defraud the other person.
Punishments are based on the number of addresses from which the items were taken, and include the following:
- Fewer than 10 addresses: State jail felony, which is punishable by 2 years to 180 days in state jail and/or up to $10,000 in fines
- 10 to 19 addresses: Third-degree felony, which is punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison and/or up to $10,000 in fines
- 20 to 49 addresses: Second-degree felony, which is punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and/or up to $10,000 in fines
- 50 or more addresses: First-degree felony, which is punishable by 5 to 99 years in prison and/or up to $10,000 in fines
Schedule Your Free Consultation with The Law Office of Shane Phelps, P.C. Today
If you were accused of package theft, contact our skilled team for effective legal counsel. We have years of experience defending the rights of individuals accused of theft crimes, and we will leverage our knowledge and skills to seek a favorable outcome in your case.
Speak with one of our attorneys by calling us at (979) 773-7028 or contacting us online.