Law enforcement agencies all over Texas take alleged theft crimes very seriously, and any person who is accused of having stolen the property of another party could be facing serious criminal charges. Whether you are accused of a misdemeanor or a felony, you should always make sure you speak with a Denton theft/larceny attorney.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) statistics show that there were 2,148 larceny or theft offenses known to law enforcement in Denton in 2019. Additional crime data can also be found on the City of Denton website.
Theft / Larceny Defense Lawyer in Denton, Frisco, Lewisville, Flower Mound, TX
Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today for a consultation about your alleged offense in Denton, Frisco, Lewisville, Flower Mound, and surrounding areas of Denton County, Texas.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy will be much more adept at fighting your criminal charges and may be able to get them reduced or dismissed. You may call (940) 222-8004 or contact us online to get a consultation so we can thoroughly review the details of your case and explain exactly what you might be able to do moving forward.
Theft / Larceny Charges in Denton County
The Texas theft law is found in Texas Penal Code § 31.03, which states that a person commits a theft crime if they unlawfully appropriate any type of property with an intent to deprive the owner of the property. Property appropriation will be considered unlawful if it is done without an actual owner’s effective consent, the property is stolen and an alleged offender then appropriates it knowing it was stolen, or the property was in the custody of any law enforcement agency and was explicitly represented by some law enforcement agent to an alleged offender as being stolen and the alleged offender appropriated the property believing it had been stolen by another party.
It is also important to note that under Texas Penal Code § 31.03(c):
- evidence that an alleged offender previously participated in other recent transactions similar to a theft offense may be admissible to show knowledge or intent and the issues of knowledge or intent can be raised by an alleged offender’s plea of not guilty;
- the testimony of an accomplice can be corroborated by proof tending to connect the alleged offender to the offense, but an alleged offender’s knowledge or intent can also be established by the uncorroborated testimony of an accomplice;
- an alleged offender who engages in some kind of business of buying and selling any kind of used or secondhand personal property, or lending money based on the security of personal property deposited with an alleged offender will be presumed to know upon receipt by an alleged offender of stolen property that property was previously stolen from another party when an alleged offender pays for or loans $25 or more against the property and an alleged offender knowingly or recklessly fails to record a name, address, and physical description or identification number (defined as a driver’s license number, military identification number, identification certificate, or some other official number that is capable of identifying a person) for a seller or pledgor, fails to record some kind of complete description of the property, including a serial number when reasonably available, or some other kind of identifying characteristics, or fails to obtain some kind of signed warranty from a seller or pledgor that a seller or pledgor has a right to possess the property;
- stolen property will not lose its character as stolen when it is recovered by any law enforcement agency;
- an alleged offender who is engaged in obtaining abandoned or wrecked motor vehicles or parts of abandoned or wrecked motor vehicles for resale, disposal, scrap, repair, rebuilding, demolition, or other form of salvage can be presumed to know on receipt by an alleged offender of stolen property that property was previously stolen from another party if an alleged offender knowingly or recklessly fails to maintain some kind of accurate and legible inventory of every motor vehicle component part purchased by or delivered to an alleged offender, including any date of purchase or delivery, a name, age, address, sex, and driver’s license number of a seller or person making the delivery, the license plate number of a motor vehicle in which a part was delivered, a complete description of a part, and a vehicle identification number of a motor vehicle from which a part was removed, or instead of maintaining an inventory, fails to record the name and certificate of inventory number of a person who dismantles a motor vehicle from which they obtain a part, fails on the receipt of a motor vehicle to obtain a required certificate of authority, sales receipt, or transfer document, or a certificate of title that shows that a motor vehicle is not subject to any lien or that every recorded lien on a motor vehicle has been released, or fails on receipt of a motor vehicle to immediately remove any unexpired license plate from a motor vehicle, to keep a plate in a secure and locked place, or to maintain an inventory on forms that are provided by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, of license plates kept, including for every plate or set of plates a license plate number and the applicable make, motor number, and vehicle identification number of the motor vehicle from which any plate was removed;
- an alleged offender who purchases or receives a used or secondhand motor vehicle can be presumed to know upon receipt of the motor vehicle that the motor vehicle was previously stolen from another party if the alleged offender either knowingly or recklessly fails to report to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles the failure of any person selling or delivering a motor vehicle to an alleged offender to deliver to the alleged offender a properly executed certificate of title to a motor vehicle at the time a motor vehicle is delivered, or failing to appropriately file with a county tax assessor-collector of the county in which an alleged offender receives a motor vehicle, not later than 20 days after the date an alleged offender receives a motor vehicle, the registration license receipt and certificate of title or other evidence of a title delivered to an alleged offender in accordance with Subchapter D of Chapter 520 of the Texas Transportation Code, at the time a motor vehicle is delivered;
- an alleged offender who purchases or receives any kind of restricted-use pesticide, state-limited-use pesticide, or a compound, mixture, or preparation that contains a restricted-use or state-limited-use pesticide from any party other than a licensed retailer or distributor of pesticides will be presumed to know upon receipt by an alleged offender of the pesticide or mixture, compound, or preparation that the pesticide or mixture, compound, or preparation was previously stolen from another party if the alleged offender fails to record the seller or pledgor’s name, address, and physical description, fails to record a complete description of the amount and type of pesticide or mixture, compound, or preparation purchased or received, and fails to obtain some kind of signed warranty from a seller or pledgor that a seller or pledgor has a right to possess the property; and
- an alleged offender who obtains livestock from a commission merchant by representing that an alleged offender will make prompt payment can be presumed to have induced the commission merchant’s consent by deception when the alleged offender fails to make full payment.
Texas Penal Code § 31.03(d) also establishes that it is not be a defense to theft charges that a crime occurred because of a deception or strategy on the part of a law enforcement agency, including any use of undercover operatives or peace officers; a law enforcement agency provided an alleged offender with a facility in which to commit a theft offense or an opportunity to engage in some kind of conduct constituting a theft offense; or an alleged offender was solicited to commit the theft offense by a peace officer, and the solicitation was of a kind that would encourage a person predisposed to commit a theft offense to actually commit the theft offense, but would not encourage a person not predisposed to commit the crime to actually commit the theft offense.
A theft offense is classified as following:
- a Class C misdemeanor when the property stolen has a value of less than $100
- a Class B misdemeanor when the property stolen has a value of $100 or more but less than $750, the value of the stolen property is less than $100 and an alleged offender has previous convictions for any grade of a theft offense, or the property stolen is a driver’s license, commercial driver’s license (CDL), or personal identification certificate issued by this state or another state
- a Class A misdemeanor when property stolen has a value of $750 or more but less than $2,500
- a state jail felony when property stolen has a value of $2,500 or more but less than $30,000, property is less than 10 head of sheep, swine, or goats under the value of $30,000, the property, regardless of value, is stolen from the person of another party or from a human corpse or grave, including property that happens to be a military grave marker, the property stolen is a firearm, the value of property stolen is less than $2,500 and an alleged offender has two or more prior convictions for any kind of theft offense, the property stolen is an official ballot or official carrier envelope for an election, or the value of the property stolen is less than $20,000 and the property stolen happens to be aluminum, bronze, copper, or brass
- a third-degree felony when property stolen has a value of $30,000 or more but less than $150,000, or property stolen is cattle, horses, or exotic livestock or exotic fowl, and it is stolen during a single transaction while having an aggregate value of less than $150,000, 10 or more head of sheep, swine, or goats stolen during a single transaction and having an aggregate value of less than $150,000, or a controlled substance, with a value of less than $150,000, when it is stolen from a commercial building in which a controlled substance is generally stored, such as a pharmacy, clinic, hospital, nursing facility, or warehouse, or a vehicle owned or operated by a wholesale distributor of prescription drugs
- a second-degree felony when property stolen has a value of $150,000 or more but less than $300,000, or the value of property stolen is less than $300,000, and the property stolen is an automated teller machine (ATM) or the contents or components of an ATM
- a first-degree felony when property stolen has a value of $300,000 or more
A theft offense can also be increased to the next higher category of offense if it is shown at trial that an alleged offender was a public servant at the time of a theft offense and the property appropriated came into an alleged offender’s custody, possession, or control by virtue of their status as some kind of public servant; an alleged offender was in some kind of contractual relationship with the government at the time of an alleged offense and the property appropriated came into an alleged offender’s custody, possession, or control by virtue of their contractual relationship; the owner of the appropriated property was at the time of an alleged offense an elderly person or nonprofit organization; the alleged offender was a Medicare provider in some kind of contractual relationship with the federal government at the time of an alleged offense and the property appropriated came into an alleged offender’s custody, possession, or control by virtue of their contractual relationship; or during the commission of an alleged offense, an alleged offender intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly caused a fire exit alarm to sound or otherwise become activated, deactivated, or otherwise prevented a fire exit alarm or retail theft detector from sounding, or used a shielding or deactivation instrument to prevent or attempt to prevent detection of an alleged offense by a retail theft detector.
Theft / Larceny Penalties in Denton County
A conviction for a theft offense could be punishable by:
- Class C misdemeanor — Fine of up to $500
- Class B misdemeanor — Up to 180 days in jail and/or fine of up to $2,000
- Class A misdemeanor — Up to one year in jail and/or fine of up to $4,000
- State Jail Felony — Up to two years in state jail and/or fine of up to $10,000
- Third-Degree Felony — Up to 10 years in prison and/or fine of up to $10,000
- Second-Degree Felony — Up to 20 years in prison and/or fine of up to $10,000
- First-Degree Felony — Up to 99 years or life in prison and/or fine of up to $10,000
Denton, TX Theft / Larceny Resources
Denton County Crime Stoppers — Denton County Crime Stoppers provides a telephone number (1-800-388-TIPS ) and web tips to encourage citizens in the community to volunteer vital information that can be helpful to law enforcement agencies to fight against crime. The Denton County Crime Stoppers Program began in 1989 because of a group of Little Elm citizens seeking to combat drug abuse in their community, but the program now operates as an independent organization comprised of citizens from all areas of Denton County. It has now resulted in 4,148 arrests made, 5,730 cases cleared, $857,840 rewards paid, and $2,884,530 property recovered.
Crime Prevention | Denton, TX — Visit this section of the City of Denton website to learn more about crime prevention tips. People are encouraged to report all crimes to the Denton Police Department. Learn more about tips for exterior doors, strike plates, locks, sliding doors, windows, hasps, padlocks, fences, and alarms.
Find A Denton County Defense Attorney for Theft / Larceny Charges | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy
If you are facing any kind of theft charges, contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today for a consultation about your alleged offense in Denton, Frisco, Lewisville, Flower Mound, and surrounding areas of Denton County, Texas.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy understands how stressful any kind of criminal allegation can be for an alleged offender, and we help people fight for the most favorable outcomes for their criminal cases. Call (940) 222-8004 or contact us online to receive a free consultation so your firm can review your case and discuss all of your legal options.