How to Get Theft Charges Dropped in Texas

How to Get Theft Charges Dropped in Texas

Whether minor or severe, theft charges can carry significant repercussions that extend far beyond legal penalties. In Texas, as in many jurisdictions, the consequences of a theft conviction can influence one’s employment, housing, and even personal relationships.

But what if you’re falsely accused, or there are circumstances that could lead to the charges being dropped or reduced? In Texas, the best strategy when dealing with a theft charge is to work with a criminal defense attorney to avoid wrongful conviction and provide a strong case for your innocence. 

This article delves deep into the Texas legal system, offering insights into understanding the different categories of theft charges and shedding light on how to have those charges dismissed. 

Whether you’re navigating this challenging path or assisting someone you know, this article provides a comprehensive summary of everything to know about dropping theft charges in Texas. 

Understanding Theft Charges in Texas

Theft, as defined in Texas, refers to unlawfully acquiring someone else’s property while intending to keep that property and the theft from the owner. In other words, theft charges involve stealing from others without their knowledge.  

Texas law distinguishes between theft, robbery, and burglary. Robbery is defined as theft while knowingly or intentionally causing or threatening to cause harm. 

Burglary involves theft while hiding and breaking into someone else’s property and can include assault. In all these situations, theft is considered in conjunction with other felonies with more significant penalties for combined offenses. 

Categories of Theft Charges and Their Penalties

Theft charges can vary widely in severity, mainly depending on the property’s value. Misdemeanors are typically assigned for values less than $1,500, while felonies are charged for amounts greater than $1,500. 

In Texas, theft is primarily categorized based on the value of the stolen property:

Felony Stolen Property Value Penalty
Class C Misdemeanor Less than $50
  • Up to $500 fine
Class B Misdemeanor $50 to $500
  • Up to 180 days jail-time
  • Up to $2,000 fine
Class A Misdemeanor $500 to $1,500
  • Up to one year jail-time
  • Up to $4,000 fine
State Jail Felony $1,500 to $20,000
  • Up to two years jail-time
  • Up to $10,000 fine
Third-Degree Felony $20,000 to $100,000
  • Up to 10 years jail-time
  • $10,000 fine
Second-Degree Felony $100,000 to $200,000
  • Up to 20 years jail-time
  • $10,000 fine
First-Degree Felony $200,000 or more
  • Up to 99 years jail-time
  • $10,000 fine

Depending on the classification, penalties can range from fines to jail or prison time:

  • Misdemeanors: Penalties can range from fines (often not exceeding $500 for Class C misdemeanors) to jail time of up to one year for Class A misdemeanors.
  • Felonies: Penalties can range from 180 days to 2 years in state jail for state jail felonies to life imprisonment or a term of 5 to 99 years in prison for first-degree felonies. Fines can also reach up to $10,00.

Other Considerations Affecting Charges:

Apart from the value, other factors can influence the classification of theft charges:

  • Type of Property: Stealing specific items, like firearms, controlled substances, or livestock, can result in higher charges, irrespective of market value.
  • Previous Convictions: Individuals with prior theft convictions may face enhanced penalties.
  • Theft from a Person: If theft is directly from an individual (e.g., pickpocketing), it may carry a higher charge despite the property’s value.

What are the Grounds for Dropping Theft Penalties in Texas?

In many cases, courts will drop or reduce theft charges based on various grounds. While the specifics of each case can differ, certain factors can influence the outcome of theft charges in Texas. These include:

Lack of Evidence

To secure a conviction, the state must prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Here are the implications of insufficient evidence:

  • Tangible Evidence: Physical evidence linking the accused to the theft is often necessary. Without this, it becomes challenging to secure a conviction.
  • Eyewitness Testimony: If there are no witnesses, or if their accounts are unreliable, this can weaken the prosecution’s case.
  • Inconclusive Surveillance: Grainy or unclear footage may not be substantial enough to identify the accused indisputably.

Mistaken Identity

Facing a wrongful accusation based on mistaken identity can be unfortunate, but it’s not uncommon. Here’s how it can play out:

  • Similar Appearance: Someone who looks similar to the defendant might have committed the theft, leading to misidentification.
  • Unreliable Eyewitness Accounts: Eyewitnesses can sometimes be mistaken, especially in stressful situations or when some time has passed since the event.
  • Misinterpreted Evidence: Sometimes, evidence like fingerprints or video footage can be misconstrued, leading to incorrect conclusions.

Rights Violations

The U.S. Constitution and Texas laws provide certain rights to individuals. Violating these rights can lead to charges being dropped:

  • Illegal Searches and Seizures: Evidence obtained without a valid search warrant or a legally recognized exception to the warrant requirement can be suppressed..
  • Miranda Rights: If the accused wasn’t read their rights upon arrest or during custodial interrogation, any statements they made might be inadmissible in court.
  • Right to a Speedy Trial: Prolonged delays that prejudice the defendant can be grounds for dismissal if the defendant didn’t cause the delay.

Return of Property

In some cases, the voluntary return of stolen property can influence the legal proceedings, though it’s not a guaranteed method for charges to be dropped:

  • Good Faith: Voluntarily returning stolen items might demonstrate the accused’s remorse and good faith, potentially leading to a more lenient stance from the prosecution.
  • Restitution: Along with other factors, repayment can sometimes lead to reduced charges or alternative sentencing.

It’s important to emphasize that these are general guidelines, and the actual outcome can vary based on the details of each case, the strategies employed by the defense, and the perspectives of the judge and prosecution. 

Consulting with an attorney is essential for anyone facing theft charges in Texas.

How to Increase Your Chances of Dropping Theft Charges

Facing theft charges can be a daunting experience, but there are proactive steps you can take to increase your chances of dropping or reducing those charges. Here’s a closer look at a few strategies that can be beneficial in the legal battleground of Texas:

Preserve Evidence

Acting quickly to gather and preserve any evidence that could support your defense is crucial. Here’s how you can go about it:

  • Surveillance Footage: If security cameras are nearby, request copies of the footage from the time of the alleged theft. This might show that you weren’t at the scene or didn’t commit the act.
  • Receipts and Alibis: Save receipts or other documents that can prove where you were at the time in question. Similarly, identify any witnesses who can vouch for your whereabouts or actions.
  • Store Evidence Safely: Ensure you store evidence in a safe, secure place and make backups where possible, especially for digital content.

Avoid Self-Incrimination

The right to remain silent is one of the most fundamental rights. Here’s how to exercise it properly:

  • Stay Silent: Upon arrest or during police interactions, it’s within your rights to stay silent. Avoid explaining yourself without legal counsel, as courts could be use it against you.
  • No Unofficial Conversations: Avoid discussing details of the case with anyone other than your lawyer. This includes friends, family, and especially on social media.
  • Await Your Attorney: If you’re taken into custody, ask for your attorney immediately and wait for their guidance before answering any questions.

Hire a Skilled Texas Attorney

Legal expertise can make a world of difference in how you represent your case and its eventual outcome. Here’s why:

  • Specialized Knowledge: An attorney with experience in Texas theft cases will know local statutes, previous case laws, and potential defenses.
  • Negotiation Skills: Often, the resolution of a case doesn’t require a trial. A skilled attorney can negotiate with the prosecution for reduced charges, alternative sentencing, or even dismissal.
  • Guidance and Strategy: From collecting evidence to presenting arguments in court, an attorney can guide you through every step, ensuring that you take actions that are in your best interest.

Drop Your Theft Charges Today With DWI Attorney Fort Bend

In the intricate maze of the Texas legal system, having a suitable representation can make all the difference between a conviction and a dismissal. If you or someone you know is facing theft charges in Texas, it’s crucial to act swiftly.

With the experienced team at DWI Attorney Fort Bend, you’ll have dedicated professionals who understand Texas law’s complexities and will tirelessly advocate for your rights. 

Don’t let accusations define your future. Reach out to DWI Attorney Fort Bend today and take the first step towards reclaiming your peace of mind and securing your freedom.


20+ Years of Experience in Criminal Defense

I began my career with the District Attorney’s office and have been in private practice focusing on criminal defense in Fort Bend and surrounding counties since 2002.

How Long is Jail Time For Probation Violation in Texas?

How Long is Jail Time For Probation Violation in Texas?

Texas is known for having one of the country’s most complex and multifaceted legal systems. Within this maze of rules and regulations, probation allows individuals to demonstrate their commitment to the law. But what happens when you violate probation in Texas?

Penalties for probation violations vary from a warning to serving the remainder of your jail time behind bars. Factors that impact the penalty are the nature of the original offense, the degree to which the defendant violated probation, and the individual’s legal history. Sentences can range from brief stays in county jail to prolonged terms in state correctional facilities. 

In order to navigate the intricate terrain of Texas’ legal system, this article will look at the fundamentals of probation, common violations, the range of penalties, and what you can do when faced with a violation.

What Constitutes Probation Violation in the State of Texas?

Probation violation occurs when an individual breaks the terms or conditions of their probation. Probation is a court-ordered period of supervision in the community, typically used as an alternative to incarceration. 

The terms and conditions of probation can vary based on the offense, the jurisdiction, and other factors specific to an individual’s case.

When an individual is placed on probation, they are required to follow certain conditions set by the court. This often occurs under the supervision of a probation officer. If an individual violates any of these conditions, it can result in potential legal consequences.

The conditions individuals must agree to include the following:

  • Not committing additional crimes.
  • Avoiding illegal drugs.
  • Submitting to random drug tests.
  • Avoiding known criminals or places associated with such.
  • Meeting with your probation officer.
  • Allowing the probation officer to visit you when needed.
  • Seeking and holding gainful employment.
  • Maintaining residence at your current county.
  • Keeping up with child support or alimony payments.

Common Probation Violations

Violating probation involves breaking any rules of their probationary term. They can be categorized into offense-based violations and direct violations of probation. 

Offense-based violations involve committing crimes while on probation or engaging in crime-related activity. This includes associating with known criminals or holding firearms. Directly violating probation is generally more passive. Examples of direct violations include failing one or more state-approved probation parameters, such as a drug test. 

While the exact conditions of probation can vary depending on the specifics of each case, common violations include:

Offense-Based Violations

  • Committing New Offenses: This doesn’t only pertain to felonies; committing misdemeanors (except for traffic misdemeanors) can also be considered a violation.
  • Associating with Known Criminals: Some probationers are prohibited from associating with specific individuals, primarily known criminals or gang members.
  • Possession of Firearms: In many cases, probationers cannot own or possess firearms.

Directly Violating Probation

  • Missing Appointments: Failing to report to the probation officer at scheduled times or missing other mandated meetings can lead to a violation.
  • Failing Drug or Alcohol Tests: Many probationers are required to submit to random drug or alcohol tests. A failed test can be grounds for a violation.
  • Not Paying Fines or Restitution: If a condition of probation includes paying fines, fees, or restitution to victims, failure to make these payments as scheduled can be considered a violation.
  • Violating Curfew: Some probationers are under curfews. Being out past this curfew without a valid reason can be a violation.
  • Traveling without Permission: Most probation terms restrict travel outside the county or state without prior permission.
  • Failing to Attend Mandated Classes or Programs: This can include classes like anger management, drug or alcohol education, or other court-mandated programs.
  • Failing to Complete Community Service: If community service is a condition of probation, not completing it as mandated can result in a violation.
  • Residing in Unauthorized Locations: Some probationers must notify and get permission from their probation officer before moving.
  • Violating a No-Contact Order: If a probationer is ordered to stay away from specific individuals (e.g., in cases of domestic violence), making contact with those individuals is a violation.

What Are the Penalties for Probation Violation in Texas?

In Texas, if someone violates the terms of their probation, the consequences can vary based on the severity of the violation, the nature of the original offense, and other circumstances surrounding the case. 

For those wondering how long is jail time for probation violation in Texas, it ranges from no jail time and a warning to completing the remaining probation period behind bars. The jail time for probation violation in Texas will never exceed the probationary period. 

Based on the order of severity, the the penalties for probation violation may include:

Minor Penalties

  • Warning or Reprimand: The probation officer might notify the probationer of minor infractions or first-time violations rather than seeking formal penalties.
  • Modification of Probation Terms: The court can change the terms of probation to make them stricter. This could mean more frequent check-ins with a probation officer, additional drug tests, increased community service hours, or other added conditions.
  • Counseling or Rehabilitation Programs: Depending on the nature of the violation, such as a failed drug test, the court might order the offender to attend counseling or a rehabilitation program.
  • Community Service: Additional hours of community service may be added as a penalty for the violation.

Moderate Penalties

  • Fines: The court might impose additional fines due to the violation.
  • Restitution: If the violation involves failing to pay restitution, the court will typically order to continue or establish a payment plan.
  • Jail Time: The judge can order the probationer to serve a short jail sentence, often a few days or weeks, especially for more severe violations, before releasing them back to continue their probation.
  • Extended Probation Period: The duration of the probation period might extend beyond the original term.

Severe Penalties

  • Probation Revocation and Imprisonment: In severe or repeated violation cases, the court can decide to revoke the probation entirely. The probationer can be sent to jail or prison if probation is revoked. The length of incarceration could be up to the maximum term for the original offense.
  • Bonds: In some instances, upon violating probation, the state may take the individual into custody and held until a hearing. The state will set a bond, allowing the person’s release from custody pending the outcome of the probation violation hearing.

Factors Determining Jail Time for Probation Violation

When someone violates the terms of their probation, the length of potential jail time is determined by various factors. 

Here are the primary factors that courts generally consider when deciding on jail time for a probation violation:

Original Offense

The severity of the original crime for which the probation originates can influence the penalty. A violation on probation for a more serious offense might lead to a longer jail sentence than a violation for a lesser offense.

Nature and Severity of the Violation

Minor violations (e.g., missing one meeting with a probation officer) might result in less severe consequences than major violations (e.g., committing a new crime).

Frequency of Violations

A first-time violation might be treated more leniently than repeated infractions. If someone continually violates the terms of their probation, the court is more likely to impose a stiffer penalty.

Length of Time on Probation

If someone has been on probation without any issues for a significant period, the court might consider this a factor in their favor.

Legal Arguments and Evidence:

The defense and prosecution will present their arguments and evidence during a revocation hearing. The strength of these arguments and the presented proof can influence the decision on jail time.

Legal Rights and Defenses in a Probation Violation Case

When an individual violates the terms of their probation, they have specific legal rights to ensure the process is fair and just. Among these rights is the entitlement to a hearing, known as a probation revocation hearing. 

At the revocation hearing, an attorney has the right to represent the individual. If they cannot afford one, the state will provide a public defender or court-appointed attorney. 

Defenses in a probation violation case can vary depending on the nature of the alleged violation. 

For example, the violation is for failing a drug test. A possible defense might be contesting the accuracy or administration of the test. If the violation involves missing an appointment with a probation officer, an unforeseen emergency or miscommunication might serve as a defense.

It’s also worth noting that, in certain situations, the accused’s legal defense can leverage technical or procedural errors made by probation officers or the court to achieve a fair hearing.

In any case, the individual’s legal rights ensure that they are not unjustly penalized and have an opportunity to defend themselves against the allegations. Given a probation violation’s complexities and potential repercussions, individuals should seek legal counsel to navigate the process effectively.

Can I End My Probationary Period Early?

Depending on the severity of the case and your probationary period, seeking a reduction or termination of your probationary period is possible. This process is much more likely with a lawyer’s professional guidance. 

To apply for probation termination or reduction, individuals must meet the following requirements: 

  1. Individuals must complete at least one-third of their probationary period, or two years, whichever is shorter. 
  2. Individuals who complete at least half of their period or two years, whichever is longer, can file for a judge to review their record for termination or reduction unless: 
  3. They have not paid fines or costs and can pay. 
  4. They have not completed court-ordered counseling. 

In other words, individuals who have completed at least two years of their probationary period, or half of their overall period, have a solid chance to apply for a termination as long as they have met the requirements for their probation.

Can I Apply for Deferred Adjudication?

Deferred adjudication is a specific type of plea deal in Texas that favors first-time offenders, juveniles, and other special cases. It’s essentially a legal understanding that this is a one-time offense and will not likely occur again with remediation.

If the state grants you deferred adjudication, they’ll place you on probation for a specified period. If you complete the probation without any violations, the state will dismiss the charges against you, and you’ll avoid a formal conviction on your record. 

However, the arrest and deferred adjudication order will remain on your record. However, with a lawyer’s expertise, you can reliably seal the record so that these charges don’t negatively impact your future.

Get the Best Texas Defense for Your Probation or Probation Violation

Are you facing probation or a potential probation violation in Texas? The complexities of the legal system require expert navigation to ensure your rights are protected and you get the best possible outcome.

Whether you’re seeking early probation termination, considering deferred adjudication, or defending against a violation, it’s crucial to have experienced representation at your side.

DWI Attorney Fort Bend has decades of experience handling probation violation cases, probation terminations, and deferred adjudication for Texas residents. Call our offices today at 281-762-7345 or contact us for the expert legal advice you need.

20+ Years of Experience in Criminal Defense

I began my career with the District Attorney’s office and have been in private practice focusing on criminal defense in Fort Bend and surrounding counties since 2002.

Is Marijuana Legal in Texas in 2023?

Is Marijuana Legal in Texas in 2023?

As the wave of marijuana legalization sweeps across the United States, many look to the Lone Star State with one pressing question. What is Texas’s stance on cannabis in 2023? 

Currently, recreational cannabis is illegal in Texas, with medical marijuana allowed under strict provisions. Historically, Texas has taken a conservative approach to marijuana legislation. However, with changing public opinions, economic considerations, and shifting political landscapes, the future status is positioned to change.

This article delves into the intricacies of Texas’s marijuana laws, the driving forces behind any recent changes, and what the future might hold for cannabis enthusiasts and patients in Texas.

What Constitutes Marijuana Possession in Texas

Marijuana possession in Texas involves knowingly or intentionally having any amount of usable marijuana, with additional penalties for intentionally growing or planning to sell THC-containing cannabis. 

These laws are in accordance with Federal regulations that list cannabis as a Schedule I drug. Generally, changes in Texas law follow precedents set by Federal law rather than precedents set by other states. 

While the penalties increase depending on the amount, ‘usable’ cannabis can be any amount that can create psychoactive effects. These penalties apply for all types of cannabis, although more flexible laws have recently been enacted to allow for some medical marijuana use.

How Does Texas Law Differentiate Recreational, Medical, CBD, and Hemp?

The Texas laws for cannabis primarily regulate delta-9 THC, the primary psychoactive compound responsible for marijuana’s effects. In the past, all parts of the cannabis plant were considered ‘usable marijuana.’

However, in 2015, Texas enacted the Compassionate-Use Act, which allowed strict provisions for the use of medical marijuana for specific cases, such as epilepsy. This law redefined cannabis by its THC content and manufacturable use to promote hemp cultivation while allowing for particular instances where low-THC products could be used for medical purposes. 

This law and its additions in 2019 and 2021 redefined cannabis in the following ways: 

  • Hemp: Any part of the plant or its derivatives that contains less than 0.3% THC. Amounts below this threshold are considered ‘trace’ and are legal in Texas. 
  • CBD: CBD, a non-psychoactive supplement, is legal as long as it is derived from hemp and contains less than 0.3% THC
  • Delta-8 THC: THC refers to delta-9 THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis. Delta-8 THC is much milder in effect. Like CBD, delta-8 cannabis derived from hemp with less than 0.3% delta-9 THC is legal.
  • Medical Marijuana: In Texas, cannabis with THC between 0.3% and 0.99% is legal for medical purposes. Any amount above 1% THC is illegal for any purpose in Texas. 
  • Amounts within this threshold must be approved by a physician and the patient must be a permanent state resident with a qualifying condition
  • Recreational Marijuana: Marijuana containing more than 1% delta-9 THC is illegal in all parts of Texas, following federal legal guidelines. 

When in doubt, consider the percentage of Δ-9 THC in a product. If the amount exceeds 0.3%, it is subject to penalty in Texas.

What are the Penalties for Marijuana Possession in Texas

Possessing cannabis with more than trace amounts of THC is considered a misdemeanor in Texas. The severity of the charge depends on the actual amount found on your person and the legal defense you have for possessing marijuana. 

The legal punishment for possession of THC-containing cannabis is as follows: 

  • Class B Misdemeanor: Less than 2 oz. Up to $2,000 fine and 180 days in jail. 
  • Class A Misdemeanor: 2-4 oz. Up to $4000 fine and one year in jail.
  • Jail Felony: 4 oz – 5 lbs. Up to $10,000 fine and 2 years in jail. 
  • 3rd Degree Felony: 5-50 lbs. Up to $10,000 fine and 10 years in jail. 
  • 2nd Degree Felony: 50-2,000 lbs. Up to $10,000 fine and 20 years in jail. 
  • 1st Degree Felony: 2000+ lbs. Up to $50,000 fine and Life Sentence. 

The degree of severity of these punishments scales with the intent to grow and distribute possessed weed. Amounts over two ounces are far more than an individual could reasonably consume.

Juveniles and first-time offenders may avoid significant jail time with the proper legal defense by participating in a diversion or drug treatment program. Repeat offenders can face much more severe terms regardless of the amount on their person but can still receive fair treatment with an appropriate legal defense.

When Will Cannabis Become Legal in Texas?

With 23 states legalizing cannabis for recreational use and many more allowing the sale of medical marijuana, you may be wondering when cannabis will become fully legalized in Texas. 

Currently, there’s no way to know when cannabis will attain the legal status of many of Texas’ neighbors. Still, the shifting attitude of the substance nation- and state-wide indicates that laws will become more accommodating in the coming years. 

While state public opinion is divided, amendments to the Texas legislature in the past 10 years suggest that individuals and politicians are accepting the possibility of legalization much more than in previous decades. 

Here’s a timeline of events in the past decade to demonstrate the rapid changes occurring in our state: 

  • 2015: The Compassionate-Use Act allowed low-THC (<0.3%) cannabis possession
  • 2019: A bill is passed to reduce penalties associated with possessing low volumes of cannabis for personal use. 
  • 2019: A new law, HB 1325, allows legal cultivation of hemp and hemp products with trace amounts of THC. 
  •  2021: A new law, HB 1535, increases the threshold of medical marijuana from 0.5% to 1%. 

While it may seem like full legalization is out of the question for Texas residents, recent laws suggest that change is coming consistently and rapidly. As public opinion becomes more open to cannabis, the legislature will follow to provide the fairest treatment. 

If cannabis becomes legal at the federal level, Texas will likely follow suit to match the precedent set by the U.S. government, as it has in the past.

Do You Need a Texas Attorney to Assist With Marijuana Possession?

However, while public opinion regarding cannabis seems to be turning, Texas law remains strict. 

If you find yourself facing legal challenges due to marijuana possession or use, it’s in your best interest to consult with a Texas attorney who specializes in marijuana laws. They will offer you the best chance at a favorable outcome and guide you through the state’s complex legal landscape.

For the best representation for possession of marijuana, contact Attorney Lee D. Cox, a specialist in drug possession law in Texas for over 20 years. Call today at 281-762-7345 for expert legal representation in Fort Bend County, Houston, and Sugar Land, Texas.

20+ Years of Experience in Criminal Defense

I began my career with the District Attorney’s office and have been in private practice focusing on criminal defense in Fort Bend and surrounding counties since 2002.