Theft is a dangerous allegation. It is considered a “crime of moral turpitude.” It is very easy to be charged with a theft allegation and it is a technical area of criminal law. There is a difference in threshold amounts for a Class B misdemeanor: $20 is the threshold amount for theft by check, but $50 is the relevant amount for theft using something other than a check for payment.
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- Theft Over $2,500
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Further, the face amount written on checks and signed by the drawer is prima facie evidence of the value of the checks.
These cases are defendable. It has long been the law that an indictment for theft must allege a culpable mental state. It must be shown that the defendant had the “intent to deprive the owner of property.” Also, a theft indictment must allege the value of the stolen property, where value is necessary to determine punishment.
If there is a prior history of theft, then the current offense may be enhanced. Prior convictions that do not consist of the same elements as theft–for instance, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and robbery–can be used to enhance the punishment range for third-offender theft from a state jail felony to a 2nd degree felony under Penal Code 12.42(a)