Bedford Theft Lawyer
Theft is the most common criminal charge in Bedford, and if you find yourself facing a theft charge, you should take the matter seriously – because you can count on the prosecution doing the same. Whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony depends upon the value of the property involved, but either can lead to serious consequences that haunt your future, and neither should be left to chance or to the discretion of the prosecutor. If you’ve been charged with theft, seek the skilled legal guidance of a seasoned Bedford criminal defense lawyer sooner rather than later.
The sooner you have legal counsel in your corner, the sooner they can begin gathering all the available evidence, including the following:
- Eyewitness testimony
- Security camera footage
- Any physical evidence from the site of the alleged theft
With the passage of time, evidence has a way of disappearing or degrading, and acting quickly is of the essence. Additionally, the DA’s office often acts on criminal charges quickly, with misdemeanor cases reaching trial in as few as 90 to 180 days. In other words, waiting to consult with an attorney and to begin focusing on your strongest defense is not going to do you or your case any favors.
Presenting a compelling theft-charge defense early on has many advantages, which include putting you in a better position to engage in effective negotiations. When your savvy theft charge attorney approaches the prosecutor without delay, the prosecutor may be more inclined to drop the charge entirely – or to strike an advantageous plea deal or diversion.
As a former assistant DA in Tarrant County, I have a wealth of experience with the DA’s office, and I understand its inner workings, including how the prosecutors go about evaluating cases in relation to plea deals and diversions, their methods for gathering evidence, and the prosecution theories that they turn to time and time again in theft cases. In short, I have the kind of legal background that can make a serious difference in your case, and I’m standing by to help.
When I opened my boutique criminal defense firm more than 13 years ago, I forged my knowledge of the court’s practices and my hands-on experience with criminal litigation with my passion for zealously defending the legal rights of the accused, and it serves our clients well.
The legal team at the Fulgham Law Firm now includes five former prosecutors, which adds up to more than 80 years of combined experience and hundreds of jury trials under our belts.
Suffice it to say that we know our way around a courtroom and the Texas criminal justice system, and we bring a fresh perspective to criminal defense, which translates to favorable results.
If you’re facing a theft charge, you have the option of turning to court-appointed counsel, but you should know they not only have heavy caseloads that leave them with little time or energy to focus on your challenging case but also often lack the legal resources to build your strongest defense. My legal team and I give our undivided attention to every case we take on, and it shows. You should also be aware that the court often orders clients who avail themselves of court-appointed counsel to repay the expense over time.
When you work with us, you can expect a defense that’s tailored to the evidence and facts of your case. We embrace a holistic approach that is never one size fits all, and we will avail ourselves of every conceivable resource in our efforts to resolve your theft case as effectively and efficiently as possible. We’re just a phone call away, and we encourage you to give the Fulgham Law Firm a call at 817-877-3030 to schedule your free consultation today.
Theft Charges in Texas
The charge of theft in Texas is a property crime that involves the unlawful taking of someone else’s property with the intent to permanently deprive the rightful owner of that property. The charge of theft can be either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the property in question. Common theft charges in Bedford include:
- The purchase of stolen property
- The passing of a bad check
- Auto theft
The Fines and Penalties for Theft in Texas
The fines and penalties you face for even a misdemeanor theft charge are considerable, and they range all the way up to life behind bars. The consequences of a conviction break down in the following ways:
- A theft charge for property that is valued at under $100 is a Class C misdemeanor, which comes with up to $500 in fines but no jail time.
- A theft charge for property that is valued from $100 to $750 is a Class B misdemeanor, which comes with fines of up to $2,000 and up to 180 days in jail.
- A theft charge for property that is valued from $750 to $2,500 is a Class A misdemeanor, which comes with fines of up to $4,000 and up to one year in jail.
- A theft charge for property that is valued from $2,500 to $30,000 is a state jail felony, which comes with fines of up to $10,000 and from 180 days to 2 years in jail.
- A theft charge for property that is valued from $30,000 to $150,000 is a third-degree felony, which comes with fines of up to $10,000 and from 2 to 10 years in prison.
- A theft charge for property that is valued from $150,000 to $300,000 is a second-degree felony, which comes with fines of up to $10,000 and from 2 to 20 years in prison.
- A theft charge for property that is valued at more than $300,000 is a first-degree felony, which comes with fines of up to $10,000 and from 5 years to life in prison.
There are a range of variables that can enhance the theft charge levied, including the nature of the property and whether or not the charge is the person’s first.
Basic Defense Strategies
Your skilled theft lawyer will take a nuanced approach to building a solid defense against the theft charge you face, but most defense strategies fall into basic categories.
Accident, Error, or Mistake
The truth of the matter is that many theft charges boil down to accidents, errors, or mistakes. It’s all too easy to pick something up and either mistakenly believe it’s yours or plan on paying for it at checkout but neglecting to do so by mistake. Stores have also been known to charge shoppers for items they already own – and there is no intention of depriving anyone of anything in either scenario by either party. Mistakes happen, and they do not meet the legal definition of theft.
Lack of Intent to Deprive
As mentioned, you have to intend to permanently deprive the property owner of their property for theft to apply, and if this element is absent, the crime of theft didn’t happen. When you run into a store, grab three items, but pay for just two, it’s usually a matter of happenstance – rather than a ploy to steal one item and pay for two. The prosecution is on the hook for proving your intent.
Mistake of Fact
Sometimes, people are confused and may take something they believe is theirs but is, in fact, not. There are instances, for example, when consumers are gifted free merch, and there are also instances when consumers mistakenly believe they’ve been gifted free merch. If you take something because you thought it was given to you – thus affording you the right to do so – the prosecution will have a much harder time making a theft charge stick.
It isn’t uncommon for us to share things with one another. Whether this means sharing your vehicle with your roommate or using one another’s debit card for snack runs. If you have the other person’s consent, it’s not theft. The line that’s drawn regarding where that consent ends, however, can be blurry, which can lead to confusion and theft charges – when no theft actually occurred.
People are sometimes accused of theft in relation to property that belongs to them in the first place. If you innocently wear a shirt into the store you recently purchased it from only to be accused of theft, your ownership of the shirt is obviously a strong defense against the charge. Another example is receiving a gift from a relative or friend only to be accused of stealing the item by someone else. When those doing the accusing don’t know the whole story, they can be fast and loose with theft charges.
The party accusing you of theft may simply have the wrong person. Maybe you were in the wrong place at the wrong time, or maybe you look like the person they believe took their property, but it wasn’t you. When it comes to theft charges – and criminal charges of every kind – the issue of mistaken identity is far more common than you may realize.
If you’re facing a theft charge, you have questions, and the answers to those that are asked most frequently by others in your situation can help.
How does the state prove theft charges?
The prosecution has the burden of proving that you intentionally or knowingly took the property in question without the consent of the owner and with the intention of permanently depriving them of it. Further, the prosecution must prove this beyond a reasonable doubt. Proving intent often hinges on evidence that is related to hiding one’s actions. Someone who is skulking around and takes off with something that doesn’t belong to them is more likely to demonstrate intent than someone who innocently picks something up without attempting to hide their action in any way.
Defenses aimed at denying intent tend to focus on the theft in question being accidental or mistaken, and this often applies to shoplifting cases. We’ve all dashed through a self-checkout and almost forgotten to scan an item or two – or failed to lift a heavy object from the cart for the cashier to scan. If you don’t catch yourself in the process, it can lead to theft charges, but the prosecution may have a difficult time proving intent.
When there is doubt regarding one’s intent, it can derail the prosecution’s case and can lead to the court dismissing the case.
Is it theft or shoplifting?
Texas law does not differentiate between theft and shoplifting. When the accused takes property from a store intentionally – in order to permanently deprive the store of the property – theft charges apply. The nature of the charge depends on the value of the property taken.
What will happen if I’m arrested for theft?
If you are charged with theft, you’ll likely be arrested and transported to the county jail, processed, questioned, arraigned, and required to post bail in order to secure your release. Throughout, the police will investigate the situation in order to determine whether the crime can be proven, which includes collecting evidence at the scene and interviewing any witnesses. The stronger they believe their case is, the less likely they are to budge on the charge.
What do I need to know about the jail?
The Bedford jail is actually located in Euless at the following address:
1102 W. Euless Boulevard
Euless, TX 76040
The jail is open 24/7, and the public can call 817-685-1577 or 817-685-1576 to speak with a detention officer to determine whether someone is in custody. They can also inquire in person at the jail lobby on site.
Schedule Your Free Consultation Today
Facing a theft charge? It can be overwhelming, but taking proactive measures now, such as reaching out to the Fulgham Law Firm for help, can prove invaluable. We have an impressive track record of helping clients like you obtain favorable resolutions that include having their charges dismissed or significantly reduced, and we’re well prepared to also help you.
The outcome of your case is important to your future, and we have the resources, experience, and background to help. Learn more by giving us a call at 817-877-3030 or contacting us online and scheduling your free consultation today.