Common Theft and Property Crimes


For someone to be convicted of theft or property crime, they must have carried out the act of taking another’s property without permission and not intending to return those items or purposely destroying or vandalizing someone else’s property.

If you have been charged with theft or property crime, then contact your San Antonio criminal defense attorney to get a free consultation. An attorney who is experienced in criminal defense will know all the different charges and can explain everything you need to know. They will be able to evaluate the case and figure out the best course of action for the client. They will also make sure their client receives the best possible outcome.

Common Theft and Property Crimes

When it comes to theft and property crimes, there is a broad range of charges; from burglary to trespassing and arson. Any experienced property crime attorney will be able to tell you the different aspects of each, along with the penalties involved.

Below are the most common theft or property crime acts:

  • Shoplifting – Pretending to be a customer while taking items from a shop with no intention to pay for them.
  • Trespass – Entering someone else’s property without their permission.
  • Arson – Deliberately causing damage by setting fire to buildings or other people’s property.
  • Criminal mischief – Maliciously damaging by any means the property of another – often through vandalism.
  • Buying or receiving stolen property – Knowingly receiving or buying stolen property.
  • Robbery or burglary – Taking items from another person by force or breaking into a property to steal other people’s valuables.
  • Motor vehicle theft – Taking someone else’s car, motorbike, scooter, etc. without the consent of the owner.

Theft and Property Crime Consequences

Every theft and property crime has a different penalty. Depending on which crime has been carried out, the punishment can be anything from a fine to imprisonment. Depending on the items stolen, theft can be classified as either a felony or misdemeanor.

  • Felony – A felony is classed as a serious crime; they can be non-violent and violent crimes. A felony crime will have a much bigger punishment, for example, a lengthy prison sentence.
  • Misdemeanor – A misdemeanor is a crime that is more serious than an infraction but not as serious as a felony. A misdemeanor crime will often be punished by incarceration in your local jail, a fine, or both.

If the property that has been stolen is valued between $100 and $300, it is classed as petty theft, so a misdemeanor crime. If property that has been stolen is valued at more than that, the theft is considered grand, so this would be classed as a felony.

When it comes to grand theft, it is split into four categories – first degree, second degree, third degree and fourth degree – being convicted of first degree grand theft would have the highest penalties. When someone is accused of property crime, whether they are charged with a felony or misdemeanor is based on the amount of property that has been damaged and the value of anything that has been stolen.

Theft or property crimes can have their penalties increased depending on how the crime was carried out. Robbery starts out as a second-degree felony, but if the victim was disabled, elderly or if a weapon had been used against them, it would increase to a first-degree felony. This would then be classed as aggravated robbery, and the punishment would be a lot more severe than that of un-aggravated robbery.

When someone has been convicted of theft or property crime, these are the punishments they could receive:

  • Jail or prison time – Depending on the crime, the perpetrator will be given a sentence in their local jail or be sentenced to lengthy time in prison.
  • Restitution – The court will order the offender to repay the victim for their losses from the crime.
  • Court costs or fines – Similar to restitution, but a fine or court cost is a punishment paid to the court and not the victim.
  • Community supervision – This is also referred to as probation. The offender will not be in incarceration but will have a parole officer supervising them at all times. If the probation is violated, then a judge could order the perpetrator to serve the remaining amount of time of the original sentence back in jail. If the violation consisted of another crime, then they will also face new charges based on that crime.

Here in Texas, there is a Texas Theft Liability Act – not only will the offender receive punishment by law, but the victim can also sue the defendant for damages. This would be carried out in a civil court and would be a separate lawsuit.