Fort Worth Theft and Burglary Attorney
WELL ESTABLISHED WITH LOCAL JUDGES & THE COMMUNITY
According to Texas state laws, theft is defined as taking someone’s property with the goal of permanently removing it from their possession. Burglary is similar but is defined as entering a structure with the intention of committing a theft, assault, or felony.
Whether you’re facing burglary or theft charges, you could receive serious consequences. To avoid a worst-case scenario, you should consider working with a Fort Worth burglary and theft attorney. They can explain more about your options for defense. Here at Cole Pachall Law, we can represent you and fight for a fair outcome.
Theft in Fort Worth
In Fort Worth, there were an annual 2,319.4 thefts per thousand people. It’s a crime that affects many individuals.
There are several types of theft. All of the following crimes are considered theft and could leave you facing criminal charges:
- Stealing cars
- Bouncing checks
- Taking property
- Stealing someone’s identity
- Accepting stolen property (if you are aware it is stolen)
Is it a Misdemeanor or a Felony?
Any theft charges can change your life forever. However, felony theft can be particularly life-altering.
Typically, the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony is the value of the stolen property. For instance, a small item like a stick of gum might be a misdemeanor. But a large item, like a car, is more likely to be a felony.
The penalties for the crime vary. However, they typically involve large fines and jail time. In Texas, a class C misdemeanor only gives you a $500 fine. This penalty is for those who steal something that cost less than $100. If you steal between $100 and $750, you are punished with a large fine and a jail sentence of up to 180 days.
Felonies involve more jail time and higher fines. For instance, a third-degree felony gets you up to ten years in jail and a fine as high as $10,000.
Burglary in Fort Worth
Between October and December of 2018, there were 1,062 cases of burglary in Fort Worth. Burglary differs from theft in that you don’t need to commit the crime to face charges. Rather, you can be charged for intending to commit the crime. The crime needs to take place in a building or home in which you have no consent for entry.
If someone wants to get you convicted for this crime, they need to prove two elements. First, they need to show that you entered the building. This may have occurred by breaking into the property or by staying on a property after hours. For example, you may have legally entered a store. But by hiding and staying after hours, you are illegally on the premises.
The second element is the intent to commit theft, assault, or felony. To prove this element, the prosecutor needs to show you had a certain state of mind. For instance, they could have evidence that you planned out the crime.
Burglary can be a state jail felony or it could be a second-degree felony that lands you as much as 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Defenses for Burglary and Theft
Although burglary and theft are two different crimes, the defenses of them are relatively similar. If you work with a Fort Worth burglary and theft attorney, you may be able to fight your charges and minimize the consequences.
There are many different defenses for crimes. Here are a few of them:
One common and basic defense for burglary is innocence. If an attorney argues this defense, they will try to prove that the defendant never committed the criminal act. They could use an alibi, forensic technique, or another method to prove that there is a doubt the defendant committed the crime.
If this defense works, the jury will start to think the defendant was not responsible. If enough jurors doubt the defendant’s guilt, they will give a favorable verdict.
The Action Wasn’t a Crime
In some situations, the defendant did commit the act in question. But the lawyer could argue that the act wasn’t a crime. For example, an attorney could argue that the defendant had permission to enter the property. If there is proof of this, there was no crime. A burglary can only occur if the defendant was not allowed on the property. Therefore, having authorized eliminates one of the required elements of a burglary case.
When it comes to burglary, there are many loopholes. Another defense could be that the defendant had consent and that consent was never revoked by the owner. A lawyer could also argue that the defendant believed they had consent to be on the property, even if they had no consent.
If there’s no intent to commit a crime, it may be possible to get a burglary charge dismissed. An example of this could be intoxication. If someone was drunk and stumbled into a private home, they aren’t necessarily guilty of burglary. If they didn’t have an intention to commit a crime, their situation does not meet the requirements for burglary. Another “no intent” defense could arise if the person believed that they had a legal right to be on the property.
Working with a Fort Worth Burglary and Theft Attorney
There’s no way of saying what defense will work for you. If you want to improve your chances of a successful case, you should work with an attorney. They can come up with a strategy that could get your case dismissed or your sentence diminished.
Here at Cole Paschall Law, we’ve spent years representing individuals who are accused of theft and burglary. If you’re facing charges, contact our firm. We can advise you on your situation and represent you in all of your legal needs.