Theft is a common offense in Austin, and it has lifelong potential consequences. The offense itself involves unlawfully appropriating property of another with intent to deprive the owner. The statutory language is very broad. It can be anything from shoplifting to not paying for your Uber. The degree of the offense, or level of misdemeanor/felony status depends on the amount in controversy, and the presence of any prior convictions. In 2015, the Texas Legislature redefined the classifications. Anything less than $100 is a class C misdemeanor, a citation. That means it’s punishable by a fine only, no jail time. Between $100 and $750 is a class B misdemeanor. This carries up to 6 months in jail and a $2000 fine. $750 to $2500 is a class A misdemeanor. Anything over $2500 is in felony territory.
Obviously, a felony theft charge is a terrible position to be find yourself. But even a conviction on a class C theft ticket can be life changing. Theft is what is commonly referred to as a crime of moral turpitude. Crimes of moral turpitude also include things like prostitution and perjury. People with these convictions are branded as dishonest, and unreliable. Legally, it may become extremely difficult to secure a loan, or a lease, or ever testify in court if you have a crime of moral turpitude conviction.
One way we try to make these cases go away is to make restitution. Prosecutors like to see their victims made whole. Sometimes the most efficient way to a dismissal is to pay the amount in controversy. Obviously, you shouldn’t pay back money you didn’t take, but if a misunderstanding can be fixed quickly, this is an option.
If you’re charged with Theft, you must have a lawyer that can explain all these nuances to you. Call me, and let me get this off your record as quick as possible.