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Galveston Theft Lawyer

Galveston Theft Lawyer

Galveston Theft Lawyer

Galveston Theft Attorney

Theft is a serious crime in Galveston, Texas, and there are many different versions of the crime that you need to watch out for. Theft is just one method of illegally taking things and is separate from crimes like burglary. No matter what kind of theft, you may be in serious trouble if you are charged with any kind of theft.

We can help you with criminal charges like theft at the Law Office of Joseph Ruiz, PLLC. We have experience working with criminal defense in the area, and when you’re looking for a Galveston theft lawyer and law firm, we should be the first name on your mind.

The Law Office of Joseph Ruiz, PLLC: Your Galveston Theft Attorney

Joseph Ruiz graduated from the St. Mary’s University School of Law and has worked in criminal defense for many years. Mr. Ruiz has experience with over 325 jury trials, so you can be sure that he knows how to handle your case with aplomb. After ten years of working for a big law firm, he founded his law office, hoping to help the people of his Galveston community with their legal issues.

Aside from keeping up with the law, Mr. Ruiz believes that the right way to help his clients is with empathy and a community touch. He is fluent in Spanish, so he can help those who can only communicate in that language. When you need legal help with theft or any other criminal defense matter, you can trust the Law Office of Joseph Ruiz, PLLC, to defend your rights and secure a positive outcome.

Theft: The Basics

Theft is unlawfully taking something that does not belong to you to deprive the other party of the object. Theft covers things like shoplifting, receiving stolen property, and cargo theft. The punishments and degrees of theft depend on the value of the stolen items and any extenuating circumstances.

Theft is a major contributor to the state’s crime rate, so if you are charged with this offense, it is critical to know how the state defines different types of theft.

  • Class C Misdemeanor Theft: This type of crime is the least serious, and punishments max out at a fine of $500 for the first offense. There is no jail time. The state can charge you with Class C misdemeanor theft if you steal property or services totaling less than $100.
  • Class B Misdemeanor Theft: Slightly more severe, Class B misdemeanor theft involves taking something worth between $100 and $750. You may also find yourself dealing with this charge for your second offense of stealing property under $100 or for stealing a state-issued ID. You may have to pay a fine of up to $2,000 and/or spend up to 180 days in jail for a Class B misdemeanor theft charge.
  • Class A Misdemeanor Theft: The most severe of the misdemeanors, a Class A misdemeanor is for anyone stealing something between $750 and $2,500 in property or services. If convicted, you may find yourself facing a year’s imprisonment and a fine of $4,000 for a Class A charge.
  • State Felony Theft: State felony theft covers stolen property from $2,500 to $30,000. You may also find yourself dealing with this charge if you stole the property from a grave or took a firearm, election ballot, or animals. These charges carry sentences of between 180 days and two years in jail, along with a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Third-Degree Felony Theft: Third-degree felony theft is for stolen property from $30,000 to $150,000. The sentencing guidelines for this crime are two to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Second-Degree Felony Theft: Second-degree felony theft covers any crime where the stolen property value totals between $150,000 and $300,000. You may also run afoul of this charge if you steal an ATM. The fine for this crime tops out at $10,000, and you could end up in prison for anywhere from two years to 20 years.
  • First-Degree Felony Theft: The most severe theft charge is first-degree felony theft. This covers all theft of property or services over $300,000. The fine is the same as the other instances of felony theft, but jail time is the most significant difference. You could look at anywhere from five to 99 years in prison if convicted.

Do I Need a Lawyer When Facing a Theft Charge?

The law does not require anyone to hire a lawyer for a criminal or civil case if they don’t want to. It’s perfectly legal to represent yourself in all legal matters if you so desire. However, we don’t recommend it. Having a lawyer on your side can be the difference between a desirable outcome and a long prison sentence.

When you represent yourself, a judge and the other attorneys expect you to have the same knowledge as a barred lawyer. You’ll need to know all the legal precedents applicable to the case and how to conduct yourself before, during, and after a trial. Learning all this is difficult for anyone unfamiliar with the law.

You will also be extremely emotional when you or someone you know is facing a theft accusation. You won’t be able to look at the situation from a rational and unbiased point of view. Attorneys are not under the same emotional pressure and can give you objective advice on your situation and how to most effectively proceed.

Are Theft and Robbery the Same Thing?

While people often use theft and robbery as interchangeable terms, they are much different in the eyes of the law. In simple terms, robbery is a crime against a person, while theft is against property or services.

Robbery requires the perpetrator to use either force or fear to intimidate a victim into relinquishing property. Holding someone up with a knife, threatening to use a weapon if a victim doesn’t do what you say, or using psychological manipulation to get what you want would all be examples of robbery.

Theft does not involve any intimidation or violence to achieve its ends. The perpetrator takes something that doesn’t belong to them or uses a service without the intent to pay for it. A dine-and-dash or shoplifting would fall under the category of theft rather than robbery.

Ways to Demonstrate Innocence in Theft Charges

There are a few ways to prove that you are innocent in a theft case. You may be able to showcase that you made an honest mistake and didn’t think that you were stealing anything. You could also argue that you were misidentified and not the person who actually committed the crime.

If you are dealing with a charge of receiving stolen property, you could show the court that you did not know that you took stolen property.

Theft Criminal Defense Attorneys FAQs

Q: How Do You Get Theft Charges Dropped in Texas?

A: There are a few ways to get theft charges dropped in Texas. You or your lawyer may argue that you did not realize that you were stealing property and that the incident was a mistake. You could also indicate that you are the victim of mistaken identity due to unclear security footage or dodgy identifications by witnesses.

Having the right Galveston theft lawyer and law firm on your side can help you explain these factors to a judge or prosecutor.

Q: What Amount of Theft Is a Felony in Texas?

A: Any theft above $2,500 ends up as a felony in Texas. There are some circumstances where smaller crimes end up as state felonies, however. The state could charge you with a felony if you stole a firearm, livestock, or a ballot. Additionally, any grave robbing will also lead to a felony charge.

Theft against an elderly person or public servant may lead to a misdemeanor becoming a felony.

Q: Is Theft a Felony or Misdemeanor in Texas?

A: The classification of theft in Texas depends on how much the stolen property or service is worth and how many offenses the perpetrator has to their name. Theft with a value below $2,500 is typically a misdemeanor, and anything above that will lead to a felony. Some extenuating circumstances may lead to a misdemeanor becoming a felony, like stealing from a senior citizen or taking a firearm.

Q: What Is the Statute of Limitations for Theft in Texas?

A: The statute of limitations for any criminal charge in Texas is five years. This means that neither the state nor an individual can press charges against you for a crime you allegedly committed more than five years ago. You may need to speak to a lawyer if you feel that the statute of limitations has passed for an accusation that you’re facing.

The Law Office of Joseph Ruiz, PLLC: A Defense Lawyer You Can Count On

Dealing with any legal issue is daunting, and a theft charge is worrisome to anyone. When facing an accusation of theft, you need to hire an attorney who can deal with your case with knowledge and empathy.

The Law Office of Joseph Ruiz, PLLC, can handle all your criminal cases. Mr. Ruiz has plenty of trial success and can help with your legal needs. Contact us today for a consultation to get started on your case.

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