Saturday, November 26, 2011

Texas and Theft Laws

By Charis Taylor

Stealing is morally wrong and not accepted in our society, period. A person who commits such an act is not considered to be truthful or respectable member of the community. Unfortunately, it happens more than we are all aware by people we would never suspect. The majority of the time, the thief is not even stealing out of need. The consequences for theft, of any kind, are very serious and come at a great price.

There are many different categories of theft. Armed robbery, burglary, shoplifting, theft by check, forgery, unauthorized use of a vehicle, fraud, false statement to a credit agency, the list goes on and on. The penalties range from Class C misdemeanor to felony charges, contingent on the monetary worth of what was taken. If the worth was less than $1500, then the culprit will more than likely be convicted of a misdemeanor. The result of this can be a fine and/or community service, but may involve serving jail time, depending on the particular case. If the item stole was of a larger value, the perpetrator will be charged with a felony and have to serve time in prison. When the judge hears the case, the court will be notified if the suspect's record has any other offenses and this will affect the sentence given. As a rule, people who steal do not only do it one time.

Stealing of any kind in Texas is believed to be a "crime of moral turpitude". What this means is that stealing is not considered a favorable act in the community standards for justice, honesty or good solid ethics. Whether a criminal is charged with a misdemeanor or a felony for theft, these charges will be on their permanent criminal record for the rest of their life. This can have damaging effects on the convict's character personally, legally and in the future for employment.

One of the most common forms of theft is shoplifting. Shoplifting is the premeditated act of taking an item that is unpaid from a business and it happens more frequently that we know. A person can even be convicted of shoplifting if merchandise is found hidden in their possession, but they did not physical leave the place of business. The "Law of Parties" in Texas states that if your friend is caught stealing that you can be prosecuted even if you did not steal. The Laws are harsh, but they have to be. Each year an average of $10 billion dollars' worth of products are stolen from retail businesses. Obviously, this is a major problem. The community pays the price for people who commit these acts because companies are forced to pad their prices to recover from the losses from shoplifting.

Bottom line, stealing is not a smart choice and can cause trouble in many aspects of the offender's life. The negative effects will linger for years to come. Stealing affects everyone in our society, in one way or another, which is why the Laws are so strict. A thief may believe they are invincible and can get away with stealing, but eventually the tables will turn and they will get caught. The consequences of their actions will not be pleasant.

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