Theft Case Laws Changed in Texas

Several Theft Case Laws Were Changed in September 2015

Several laws were changed on September 1st of 2015 in the State of Texas, included those of theft cases. Theft cases changed the potential charges with regards to the amount of the theft. Not only normal theft cases, but Texas also changed the law for other types of property crimes like criminal mischief, fraud, etc.

Changes to Theft Case Values

Before September of 2015 in order to be charged with a class C misdemeanor, and avoid county court (instead going to municipal court),  the accusation had to have been a theft of less than $50.  Now the new value placed on a class C is less than $100.  This was adjusted due to inflation.

For example, class B misdemeanor went from $50 – $500 to $100 – $750.  Similarly, class A misdemeanor went from $500 – $1,500 to $750 – $2,500.

Before September 1, 2015, a theft of $1,500 – $20,000 would land you in felony court with a state jail felony charge, now to be charged with a state jail felony the range is $2,500 – $30,000.

A 3rd degree felony went from $20,000 – $100,000 to $30,000 – $150,000.  A 2nd degree felony from $100,000 – $200,000 was bumped to $150,000 – $200,000, and a 1st degree felony went from greater than $200,000 to greater than $300,000.

This is going to come into play on a ton of theft cases in Texas.  By far the most common type of theft case is shoplifting, and in my experience many people get caught shoplifting between $50 and $100.

These individuals before would be charged with a class B misdemeanor.  The range of punishment on a class B misdemeanor is up to 180 days in jail and a fine up to $2,000.  Now, they would be charged with a class C misdemeanor.  A class C misdemeanor is punishable by only a fine not to exceed $500.  This is huge for individuals being charged with shoplifting.  With a class C an individual almost always has the opportunity to do something to eventually clean their record, the same cannot be said for those charged with class B misdemeanors.

Here is a chart that shows the old and new values from Class C misdemeanors to 1st degree felony.

Level Old New (as of 9/1/15)
Class C Misd1 <$50 <$100
Class B Misd $50 – $500 $100 – $750
Class A Misd $500 – $1,500 $750 – $2,500
State Jail Felony $1,500 – $20,000 $2,500 – $30,000
3rd Degree Felony $20,000 – $100,000 $30,000 – $150,000
2nd Degree Felony $100,000 – $200,000 $150,000 – $300,000
1st Degree Felony >$200,000 >$300,000
Eric Benavides
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Eric Benavides

Criminal Defense Attorney at Benavides & Serrano
Eric Benavides is a Houston Criminal Defense Attorny and immigration lawyer.He is one of the co-founders of Benavides and Serrano.He is a member of the Harris County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Houston Young Lawyers Association, and is licensed to practice law in the state by the Supreme Court of Texas and federally by the Southern District of Texas.
Eric Benavides
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