If you have been accused of theft, burglary, robbery or any other property-related crime in Williamson County, you should consult a criminal defense lawyer immediately. By acting now to protect your rights and exploring your options, you might be able to avoid the serious consequences of conviction, including a lifetime criminal record.
Understanding the Exact Charges Against You
In general, a theft charge can be found in Texas Penal Code § 31.03:
(a) A person commits an offense if he unlawfully appropriates property with intent to deprive the owner of property.
(b) Appropriation of property is unlawful if:
(1) it is without the owner's effective consent;
(2) the property is stolen and the actor appropriates the property knowing it was stolen by another; or
(3) property in the custody of any law enforcement agency was explicitly represented by any law enforcement agent to the actor as being stolen and the actor appropriates the property believing it was stolen by another.
There is a wide range of criminal charges that involve theft or attempted theft of property. These charges typically range from Class B misdemeanors to felonies. Common situations where people are charged with property crimes include the following:
- Theft by check (Texas Penal Code § 31.04 and § 31.06)
- Theft of service (Texas Penal Code § 31.04)
- Retail theft or Shoplifting (often Charged under TX PC § 31.04 e 2 or 3)
- Burglary (Texas Penal Code § 30.02)
- Burglary of vehicles (Texas Penal Code § 30.04)
Burglary includes entering a building without consent with the intent to commit a felony, theft or assault and robbery includes using or threatening the use of force that results in death or substantial bodily harm. For those charged with theft by check, often a check is written and the drawer of the check moves away or forgetfully closes their account before the check has cleared. This happens more often than most people realize.
Pre-Trial Intervention Program
There are multiple criminal defense options available for people who have been charged with crimes in Williamson County. You might qualify for a special program in Williamson County called the Pre-Trial Intervention Program. This is a six-month program that is only an option for first-time offenders. Under this program, you are able to avoid prosecution if you remain law-abiding and follow all the other terms of the program. Additionally, if you are accepted and complete the program successfully, your charge will be dismissed and you will be eligible to expunge the arrest and charge from your record.
One must apply to the Pre-Trial Intervention Program through an attorney. It is a good option for many people, but it's not for everyone. It is important to have a lawyer review your case to determine whether the prosecution has sufficient evidence against you before considering this option.
If you are convicted of a property crime, you could end up serving significant jail time and paying substantial fines. A theft conviction can also be one of the most damaging things on your criminal record when you apply for a job or college and a potential employer or university conducts a background check. In most instances, prosecutors will require restitution paid in full to the victim or victims.
It is important to fully explore all of your criminal defense options with the help of a knowledgeable and devoted attorney. I will take the time to make sure I am doing everything I can to help you fight your charges. Don't hesitate to contact me to discuss your theft charges.