By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
Criminal charges for theft in Texas depend on the amount or value alleged to have been stolen. Regardless of how small a theft charge may be, however, the stigma attached with a theft charge is extremely damaging.
Below $50; Class C misdemeanor (Fine not to exceed $500).
Between $50 and $500; Class B misdemeanor (up to 180 days county jail and/or $2,000 fine). Theft by check is a Class B misdemeanor where the check was above $20 even though the amount would normally qualify for a Class C.
$500 to $1,500; Class A misdemeanor (up to 1 year county jail and/or $4,000 fine).
$1,500 to $20,000; State Jail Felony (between 180 days and 2 years State jail and fine up to $10,000).
$20,000 to $100,000; Third Degree Felony (between 2 and 10 years TDC and fine not to exceed $10,000).
$100,000 to $200,000; Second Degree felony (between 2 and 20 years TDC and fine not to exceed $10,000).
$200,000 and above; First Degree felony (between 5 and 99 years TDC and fine up to $10,000).
Theft crimes are also subject to enhancements. For example, two final theft convictions in any amount can make a third theft conviction in any amount a State Jail Felony. This means a petty theft of a pack of chewing gum could conceivably be a felony with two prior theft convictions in the past.
Regardless of the amount — there is no such thing as a small theft charge.
*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 legal advice. For specific legal advice you should consult an attorney.