What Is a Property Crime in Texas?
While property crimes are generally less serious than violent crimes, they can come with hefty punishments and leave life-long consequences. At Peveto Law, when you are facing an accusation of a property crime, we help you understand the seriousness of your situation and do whatever is possible to resolve it with your best possible outcome.
Types of property crimes in Texas
The category of property crimes goes well beyond vandalism and theft to include any illegal taking of someone else’s property without permission. The Texas Penal Code defines Offenses Against Property as including:
- Arson, Criminal Mischief, and other Property Damage or Destruction (including Vandalism)
- Burglary (including Breaking and Entering) and Criminal Trespass
- Computer Crimes
- Telecommunications Crimes
- Money Laundering
- Insurance Fraud
- Medicaid Fraud
Classification and punishment for Texas property crimes
The penalty for a property crime typically depends on the value of the property affected, and any special circumstances involved in the alleged act. For example, when the property is valued at under $2,500, the charge will often be a misdemeanor and punishable by up to a year in jail and/or fines up to $4,000. When the property is valued between $2,500 and $29,999, the act can be charged as a state jail felony, property damage, or theft values over $30,000 can be charged as a felony.
A state jail felony can carry a penalty of up to two years in jail and fine of up to $10,000, while higher felonies can result in a prison term up to 99 years and a $10,000 fine, depending on the classification of the charge.
When there are special circumstances, such as if the accused has prior convictions or if the crime was committed with a gun or in a special location, the offense can be charged at a higher level. For example, if the accused already has two felony convictions, a suspected theft may be charged at a higher degree of felony – and carry a more serious punishment – than if there were no priors.
Long-term impact of a Texas property crime conviction
The consequences for property crimes extend beyond fines and jail or prison time. A misdemeanor or felony may appear on background searches and require disclosure for years to come, interfering with one’s ability to get a job, housing, student loans, professional licenses, gun permits, and other opportunities. It can also prevent you from serving on a jury or holding public office. Even if you’re not arrested a warrant in Dallas or elsewhere in the Metroplex can hang over your head for years.
If you have been or may be charged with a property crime, there are things you can do to minimize the impact. The first thing to do is contact an experienced attorney who can evaluate your case and potentially have the charges dismissed or reduced or, if necessary, prepare to bring your case to trial. Being proactive can preserve your future.
Criminal defense attorney Andrew Peveto puts his years of experience to work for clients in the Plano and DFW areas. For aggressive and personalized representation, call Peveto Law. All consultations are confidential and risk-free.
Additional Texas property crimes resources:
- Justia, 2015 Texas Statutes Title 7: Offenses Against Property, https://law.justia.com/codes/texas/2015/penal-code/title-7/
- Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Crime Analysis, https://www.dps.texas.gov/crimereports/06/cit06Ch2.pdf