It’s no secret that toilet paper has become a hot commodity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stories from different parts of the country and around the world have shown people are willing to go great lengths to get their hands on a few rolls.
A couple in Texas added one more story to the list recently when they stole a mega role from a restaurant in Corpus Christi. Though the restaurant didn’t press any charges, things could have gone differently for the couple.
Despite everyone’s heightened state of emotion, the restaurant owners would have been within their rights to file charges. The couple in question committed misdemeanor theft crimes. If the owners had pursued the issue, it would have been one very expensive toilet paper roll.
Misdemeanor Theft in Texas
Texas state law defines theft this way:
“A person has committed theft (or larceny) if they take property with the intent to deprive the owner of the property. Theft does not only have to be direct taking of another’s property. Theft may be taking property that the defendant already knows to be stolen by someone else.”
Any piece of property valued at any dollar amount counts. So, even a roll of toilet paper worth only a few dollars, you’re liable to face a theft charge if you take it without the permission of the owner.
Theft charges can range from a misdemeanor up to a felony, and the exact value of the property will ultimately determine what charge an offender will face.
In the story above, the suspects in the case were lucky that no charges were filed. Had they actually been charged with a crime though, a conviction would have cost them pretty dearly.
Punishments For Texas Misdemeanor Theft
Class A Misdemeanor
This is the most severe misdemeanor in the state of Texas. A person has committed a Class A misdemeanor if the value of the items stolen is at least $750 but not more than $2,500.
The punishment for a Class A misdemeanor is a fine not to exceed $4,000, confinement in jail for a period of no more than 1 year, or both.
Class B Misdemeanor
The next highest level of a misdemeanor in the state of Texas is Class B. A person has committed a Class B misdemeanor if the value of the items stolen is at least $100 but not more than $750.
The punishment for a Class B misdemeanor is a fine not to exceed $2,000, confinement in jail for a period of no more than 180 days, or both.
Class C Misdemeanor
The lowest level of a misdemeanor in the state of Texas is a class C misdemeanor. A person has committed a Class C misdemeanor if the value of the items stolen is less than $100.
The punishment for a Class C misdemeanor is a fine not to exceed $500. There is no jail time for a class C misdemeanor though additional requirements such as community service can be mandated in some instances.
Had the couple who stole the role of mega toilet paper been charged with a crime, they could have faced a fine of $500. That 10,0000-percent price hike any other way would be downright illegal! We suggest you think twice before slipping a roll off of someone else’s shelf in Texas.
In the event you are charged with misdemeanor theft crimes in Texas, it can be helpful to consult with an experienced attorney. The right defender can help you explain your case.
About the Author:
Brandon Fulgham has an in-depth understanding of both Texas law and Texans themselves. Before practicing law here, he received his undergraduate degree from TCU, and his law degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston. After graduation, he worked in District Attorneys’ offices as a prosecutor. Now, he uses that knowledge to anticipate opposing counsel’s arguments and protect the rights of people in and around Fort Worth. His work has been recognized by Expertise (Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Forth Worth and Best DUI Lawyers in Fort Worth, both 2020), Fort Worth Magazine, and The National Trial Lawyers, just to name a few.