By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
Yes, even if they’re accusing you of taking a penny.
Being convicted or even getting deferred adjudication on a theft case is bad news in Texas. There are countless unseen consequences.
It is one of a handful of charges that the stigma attached to your criminal record in practically every case is worse than any punishment if you are convicted or get deferred.
Not only that, but the judicial system and many governmental agencies consider theft to be a “crime of moral terptitude.” This can cause wide ranging problems from immigration consequences to professional licensing denial or suspension such as being a doctor, lawyer, or any other job that requires a license such as nursing or being a real estate agent.
Explaining a theft away on your criminal record is a hard thing to do whether it was a pack of chewing gum or gold bullion they accused you of taking. Think of the disadvantage you’ll have 15 years from now in applying for a job handling money when your competition won’t spend 5 minutes of the interview talking about a previous theft charge — but you will!
The worst mistake you can make if you have been charged with theft is to blow it off because perhaps you don’t think you can win, or it was a prank, or someone else really did it and you just happened to be there and you think you can explain it away later.
In Collin County, Texas, where I practice, I have seen juries be tremendously compassionate to persons accused of theft and acquit them. The State must prove their case beyond all reasonable doubt and a good lawyer will demand the jury acquit you if the State can’t meet their burden regardless of what happened. Theft charges must typically be aggressively defended. Even if the case is very difficult, there may be other options to lessen the blow but those are legally complex. A theft charge is no time to learn how to be a lawyer on your own!
*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be specific legal advice. For legal advice, consult an attorney.