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How Texas defines and penalizes different kinds of theft

There are a host of reasons why a person could end up charged with a theft-related crime. Sometimes, for example, young people seek thrills by shoplifting small items in stores or while at the mall. Other times, people may take items that belong to another individual for their own use or to sell for a profit. Regardless of why theft happens, it's important to understand that Texas takes these kinds of crimes very seriously.

The legal term for theft is larceny. Larceny charges carry various penalties, depending on the value of the items involved, the criminal record of the person accused of the theft and other factors, such as the possession of a weapon at the time of the theft.

Larceny charges range from misdemeanors to felonies

The lower level of larceny charges are Class C misdemeanors. This charge would apply to anyone who is accused of theft of an item worth $100 or less. For items worth at least $100 but less than $750, the charge increases to a Class B misdemeanor. If the value of the stolen items is $750 or higher but less than $2,500, the charges increase to a Class A misdemeanor. Anything with market value of $2,500 or more carries felony charges.

Theft of items worth at least $2,500 but less than $30,000 will result in a state jail felony, while theft of items with a value at least $30,000 but less than $150,000 is a third degree felony. Second degree felony involves items worth $150,000 or more but less than $300,000, while a first degree felony results from a theft with a property value of $300,000 or more.

Potential penalties depend on the class of the theft charges

Each different class of charges carries its own unique penalties. A Class C misdemeanor involves a fine of up to $500, while a Class B misdemeanor carries up to 180 days in a jail and a fine of as much as $2,000. A Class A misdemeanor could result in up to a year in a jail and a maximum fine of $4,000.

A state jail felony can result in between 180 days and two years in jail and a fine of as much as $10,000. The maximum amount of the fine remains the same even if the charges increase from there. A third degree felony has penalties that include between two and ten years in jail, as well as a fine. In addition to that huge fine, a second degree felony charge could result in between two and twenty years in jail, while a first degree felony carries between five and 99 years in state prison.

Regardless of which tier of charges you're facing, it's important to take theft or larceny charges seriously. Not only do you risk jail time and expensive fines, but you could end up saddled with a criminal record for the rest of your life.

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