Houston Theft Defense Attorney
Have you been accused of defrauding your employer? Were you arrested for shoplifting in Texas? You need the advice of a skilled and aggressive Texas criminal defense lawyer who will not only gather information about the charges, to defend you, but also the circumstances which may mitigate penalties.
Theft is often a crime of circumstance. Severe desperation and depression can cloud judgment and cause people to commit acts they know to be unlawful. Was the stolen money used to pay for medical treatment for an ill family member? Do you have a history of clinical depression?
At David A. Breston, Attorney at Law in Houston, Texas, we work closely with a psychiatrist who can evaluate your state of mind. The circumstances surrounding the incident will play a key role in developing a defense strategy to fight or minimize theft charges.
This page is intended to provide you with a general overview of theft laws. Contact our Houston, Texas law firm for more information about how we can help defend you against your theft charges today.
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Theft - An Overview
When a person is charged with theft, it usually means that he or she is suspected of the unlawful taking of property that belongs to another person with the intent permanently to deprive the rightful owner of that property. Theft includes the crimes commonly known as larceny, embezzlement, shoplifting, using false pretenses to obtain property, and identity theft. The exact charge will depend upon the circumstances that surround the alleged offense. A conviction of a theft charge can involve severe penalties, but there are many defenses available to a person who has been charged. If you have been charged with theft, or a theft-related crime, or if you know someone who has been charged, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. By contacting an attorney as soon as possible, you increase your chances of mounting a successful defense, or even of avoiding more serious charges that could be brought. An expert criminal defense attorney can start working on your defense as soon as you contact him or her.
Many theft charges can be brought as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime and the value of the stolen items. A defendant convicted of a felony could serve a significant prison term, whereas a defendant charged with a misdemeanor may serve a short jail term or be required only to pay a fine or restitution. Many states define several levels of theft, typically including at least one type of petty theft and one type of grand theft, based on the value of the property taken. In many states, although petty theft is a misdemeanor, a second arrest for petty theft may be filed and punished as a felony, carrying serious penalties. An experienced criminal defense firm understands the tactics and obstacles that you will encounter and will work to get your charges dropped or reduced to a lesser offense in an effort to reach the best possible result for you.
Identity theft is an increasingly common crime. Offenders who are guilty of identity theft face severe penalties, as well as other consequences. Identity theft, or identity fraud as it is sometimes known, involves use of another person's personal information to commit fraud or theft. Identity theft offenses involve activities such as wrongfully obtaining the names, addresses, Social Security numbers, birth dates, or bank account numbers of another person, and using that information to open credit card accounts, apply for loans, open bank accounts, steal money from the victim's existing accounts, rent an apartment, file bankruptcy, or obtain a job using the victim's name. Because identity theft is costly to society, prosecutors are rigorously pursuing the claims in most jurisdictions. Identity theft cases are complex and defending the charges requires the expertise of attorneys experienced in representing defendants accused of identity theft.
Responding to Theft Charges
Being charged with a serious crime such as theft can be devastating. If you are faced with the possibility of theft charges, you should immediately retain an experienced attorney. In some cases, an attorney may be able to negotiate civil restitution so that no criminal charges are brought, and some prosecutors will not pursue a charge if civil negotiations are progressing. An attorney experienced in handling theft cases is skilled at avoiding prosecution whenever possible. If a civil resolution is not possible, an attorney hired early in the process may be able to help you avoid jail even if charges are brought against you. Retaining an attorney is your first, best response to any type of criminal charge.
Impact of White-Collar Theft Charges
Although there is no fixed definition of "white-collar crime," the term generally describes nonviolent crimes that are based on cheating or dishonesty, such as embezzlement, perjury, fraud, money-laundering, wire fraud, RICO claims, bankruptcy fraud theft, forgery, credit card fraud, counterfeiting, extortion, Internet fraud, insurance fraud and computer hacking. Professionals or entrepreneurs under the cover of a legitimate business activity typically commit these crimes.
White-collar crimes are usually quite complex. Although they traditionally carried lesser penalties than other crimes because they were not associated with violence, there is a recent trend toward stricter punishment for white-collar crimes as people recognize the financial damage white-collar criminals inflict on society. Consequently, defendants convicted of white-collar crimes may incur enormous fines, be ordered to pay restitution, or spend significant time in jail or prison. Being convicted of a white-collar crime frequently also destroys the person's livelihood and career, and accuseds should contact an experienced advocate.