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Making sense of theft charges in Texas

On Behalf of | Mar 4, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

Statistics show that property crime outpaces the prevalence of violent crime: Nearly seven times as many property crimes happen in Texas as violence crimes according to recent numbers. Theft charges in Texas typically fall under the category of property crime.

Understanding theft charges in Texas

Theft, also known as larceny, involves taking ownership of goods that you don’t own or goods you haven’t paid for. The Lone Star State has three different classifications of misdemeanor property theft:

  • Class C misdemeanor for property valued under $100
  • Class B misdemeanor for property valued between $100 and $750
  • Class A misdemeanor for property valued between $750 and $2,500

Texas also considers certain types of theft felonies. These include:

  • Property valued between $2,500 and $30,000
  • Property of any value stolen from corpses or graves
  • Firearm theft
  • Property valued at less than $2,500 and the defendant has two or more prior theft charges
  • Theft of official ballots or carrier envelopes used in elections
  • Property valued at less than $20,000 but made of brass, copper, bronze or aluminum

Inflation and theft statutes

Many states do not update their theft statutes frequently. For example, New Jersey’s threshold for felony theft of $200 is still in place from 1978. Inflation more than quadrupled from 1978 to 2022, making the Garden State’s felony theft threshold unfair.
However, Texas updated its felony theft threshold to $2,500 in 2015, helping fewer defendants face felony charges. Taking exception to Wisconsin, all other states’ felony theft charges start at a lower dollar value than in Texas.

Although facing theft charges is still worrisome, the state’s updated felony theft statutes present less trouble to defendants. Misdemeanor convictions come with less severe penalties.