An overview of Texas theft laws and defenses

An overview of Texas theft laws and defenses

| Jan 6, 2021 | Uncategorized

Desperate times may cause people in Beaumont to take desperate actions. Sometimes this means they will be accused of taking something that is not theirs. When is such a taking considered theft under Texas law?

Texas law on theft

Under Texas law, if a person takes something away from another person with the intent to permanently deprive that person of the property, this may constitute theft. This is what most people picture when they envision theft.

Theft may also take place if a person takes something that they know has been stolen by someone else. For example, if a person buys a piece of jewelry from someone else and they know that item was stolen, this also constitute theft.

In addition, a taking may be considered theft under Texas law if a person takes something they need to do something with to legally own and they fail to take the necessary affirmative action to do so. For example, if a person is sold a car, knows they were not given a properly executed certificate of title, and fails to report this to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, this may be considered theft.

Theft defenses

There are a variety of possible defenses that may be argued if a person is accused of theft. One is that they did not intend to steal anything. Another defense is mistake of fact, meaning it was thought that the item at issue was stolen, but in fact it was not stolen. The if the accused is a minor, this is a complete defense, although minors may face lesser penalties in theft cases than adults. Duress is another possible defense. It is important to note that entrapment is not a possible defense in theft cases.

What to do if you are accused of theft

Theft crimes are very serious in Texas and depending on the circumstances can range from a “Class C” misdemeanor to a first-degree felony. Ultimately, this post does not contain legal advice. Those in Texas accused of theft may want to seek professional guidance to better understand their rights and options moving forward.