A property crime mainly consists of burglaries and criminal trespasses. However, there are other forms of offenses that are classified under property crimes in Texas. Burglary and criminal trespasses are serious forms of property crimes in Texas. They can result in serious implications such as long-term imprisonment, huge fines and criminal bookings.
The legal system considers a person’s act a property crime if there is a destruction, a reduction in value or a loss of a particular property. Property crime does not directly affect an individual, but it affects a property. However, it is possible that a person may get an injury when a property crime occurs.
Common types of property crimes in Texas
A crime of arson stems after the law enforcement unit confirms that a fire or an explosion was started intentionally. In most cases, this crime is subject to circumstantial evidence based on suspicions because of lack of witness who can explain the unfolding events before and after the fire or the explosion.
Burglary is the most common type of property crimes in Texas. It is referred to as unauthorized or illegal entry into someone’s house or business premises with an intention to commit a crime. A burglary can also be considered an act of trespassing without damaging anything. Unlike robbery, burglary does not involve using force or instilling fear in someone.
Larceny is a crime that occurs when someone takes something valuable without a permission from the rightful owner. One commits larceny when he or she permanently deprives the owner the right to use the item. It is closely related to theft.
Robbery is a form of larceny or theft that involves use of force or violence to deprive someone the rightful ownership of a property. Robbery is a serious crime in Texas and may attract severe penalties.
Shoplifting is referred to as the act of concealing an item from a store without the intention to pay for it. It is a common property crime in Texas.
Vandalism occurs when someone destroys or degrades another person’s property without permission. It is also called a criminal damage or mischief in most parts of Texas.
Writing bouncing checks is still a serious criminal offense punishable by incarceration in Texas. A person can also be convicted of this crime if he or she writes a fraudulent check to someone. Chapter 32 of the Texas Penal Code recommends paper hanging for check fraud.
Possible Penalties That Come With Property Crime
The penalties depend on the type of property crime a person has committed. The penalties will also depend on the person’s criminal history and the total value of the things that were defaced. They can be more severe if there is an injury or even death resulting from the crime.
A person may be charged with a Class C misdemeanor if the value of the property damaged is low. Texas classifies Class C misdemeanors as petty offenses that attract at most a fine of $500. Class B misdemeanors attract higher penalties. One can get a jail term that stretches up to six months or a fine that is not more than $2,000. A Class A misdemeanor attracts up to one year of jail term and a fine not more than $4,000.
Misdemeanors are typically less serious offenses. More serious property crimes are classified into felonies. They can either be state-jail, third-degree, second-degree and first-degree felonies. A state jail felony has between two and six years in a state jail and a fine that is not more than $10,000. A third-degree felony attracts the same fine as state jail felony. However, someone convicted of a third-degree felony risks a prison sentence ranging from two to 10 years. A second-degree felony attracts up to 20 years in jail and a $10,000 fine. The first-degree felony attracts life sentences.
How to Defend Yourself Against a Property Crime in Texas
Property crime defense is critical, especially if the possible repercussions seem significant. The defense depends on how fast someone reacts to the charges by sealing any possible loophole that might jeopardize a positive outcome of the case. Most Texas prosecutors are ruthless and smart. They will try as much as possible to make the person convicted of the crime look guilty.
There are numerous ways someone can defend himself against property crime charges. For instance, a defendant can use intoxication as a bargaining chip in court. He must be in a position to prove that he was under the influence of alcohol or any other intoxicating material at the time the crime occurred. In the case of theft, he must convince the judges that in his intoxicated state, he mistakenly mistook an item for his.
One can also use the entrapment defense in case he feels that the plaintiff staged-managed the incidence in order to lure him to commit the crime. However, he must prove beyond reasonable doubts that indeed the plaintiff intended to trap him.
Sometimes a sympathetic approach can make the defense viable. For example, someone convicted of theft or burglary can return the property and then plead with the jury to consider his good intentions. This approach cannot free someone from the crime and the charges, but it can reduce the number and the severity of the penalties.
Calling a Property Defense Attorney
The best option for someone who is facing property crime charges is to involve a lawyer in the defense. The lawyer knows the right defense approach to take. He comes up with great strategies formed after a thoughtful session with the plaintiff. He then takes reasonable measures to ensure success in a property crime defense.
In case there is an overwhelming number of evidence, the lawyer will resort to an aggressive approach to fight and seal any loophole that may lead to a conviction. Lawyers also have professional relationships with the local judges and prosecutors. This means that they stand higher chances to influence the outcome of the case than someone who has a go at it alone.