Robbery, Theft & Burglary Attorneys in Austin, TX
Have You Been Arrested?
Convictions for burglary, robbery and theft carry hefty penalties. A typical robbery is punishable as a second-degree felony and could land you a 20 year prison sentence. However, if serious bodily injury occurred during the robbery, you could be looking at a first-degree felony and a minimum of five years in prison.
In your day to day life, you probably tend to use the terms ‘robbery’, ‘ theft’, and ‘burglary’ interchangeably without regard to the legal implications of each word. Everyone knows that those terms are all used synonymously when talking about someone taking something illegally. However, in regard to the United States legal system, there’s a difference between robbery, theft, and burglary. Each is a distinct crime that will carry its own associated punishment.
Theft is legally defined as the stealing of property from someone without any threat of physical violence. Also note that larceny is the same thing as theft. Think of examples like shoplifting or writing a bad check. As long as you intend to permanently keep what you take, it’s theft. In the state of Texas, the type of charge you receive is based on the value of the items that were stolen. Items of smaller value will get a lesser charge associated with them. For example, a theft of an item worth less than $50 will result in a Class C misdemeanor and a fine not to exceed $500. A theft of an item worth over $200,000, though, can result in a first-degree felony charge and up to 99 years in prison.
The following is a range of item values and the criminal charges associated with those item values:
- Less than $50 Class C misdemeanor
- $50 – $500 Class B misdemeanor
- $500 – $1,500 Class A misdemeanor
- $1,500 – $20,000 State jail felony
- $20,000 – $100,000 Third-degree felony
- $100,000 – $200,000 Second-degree felony
- $200,00 or more First-degree felony
Burglary is legally defined as entering someone’s home or business with the intention to commit a crime. It’s like theft coupled with illegal entry into a building. It’s a different charge than trespassing because a person who commits burglary shows intent to commit a crime (that doesn’t necessarily have to be stealing) or theft. That means you don’t even have to do anything besides entering a building or home in order to get charged. That’s right: you don’t even need to steal anything to be charged with burglary. The prosecution needs to be able to prove that the defendant had the intent to commit a crime in order to charge you.
Again, in Texas, your charge type will depend on the type of property you enter. For example, if you enter a building with inhabitants present, you may get a higher charge than if the building was empty. This indicates that there was a greater danger for the people inside the property while it was being burgled. In some states, simply entering during daylight hours is enough to get a higher charge. Entering a habitation will result in a second-degree felony charge that is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
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