Texas Property Crime Lawyer

Soyars & Morgan Law provides exceptional defense representation if you have been accused or arrested for a property crime in Texas. We are committed to protecting your rights and freedom by raising strategic defenses with a view toward achieving a swift and positive resolution.

We at Soyars & Morgan Law have an in-depth understanding of Texas statutes regarding property crime offenses and provides staunch advocacy you can count on. Minimize the chances of steep penalties, jail time, and other negative consequences by aligning with an experienced criminal defense lawyer San Antonio residents have come to trust.

San Antonio property crime lawyer

There are many different crimes against property covered under Texas penal law and they can result in either a misdemeanor or felony charges. Remember that an arrest is not the same as a conviction; do not give up hope if you have been arrested for a theft offense before speaking to us. Our knowledgeable team takes every possible measure to help clients avoid the lasting repercussions of a criminal conviction and have over 26 combined years of experience handling property crime cases in South and Central Texas.

Contact our San Antonio law office to discuss your circumstances and charges. We are not intimidated by complex property crime cases including but not limited to:

  • Criminal mischief
  • Vandalism
  • Extortion
  • Breaking and entering
  • Arson

What is property crime in Texas?

In 2016, the State of Texas reported just over 2,759 property crimes per 100,000 inhabitants, which is 6.9 percent higher than the national average. Every state has its own property crime definition. Under the Texas Penal Code, the act of stealing, damaging or destroying another person’s real or intangible property are considered property crime offenses.

You can be charged with criminal mischief if you intentionally or knowingly damage property that belongs to another person. This type of property crime, often called vandalism, also includes tampering, marking, painting, writing, etching on or otherwise defiling property that is not your own. Criminal mischief can be prosecuted as a Class A, B or C misdemeanor, state jail felony or felony of the first, second or third degree, depending on the type of property damage and the resulting pecuniary losses.

If an individual starts a fire, regardless if the blaze continues or causes an explosion with intent to damage or destroy property, they may face arson charges under Texas penal code § 28.02. This law applies to arson cases involving:

  • Vegetation, fences, structures or open-space lands
  • Habitation, vehicles and buildings
  • Knowing the property is within city or town limits
  • Knowing that the property is insured against damage
  • Knowing that the structure is on private property
  • Knowing that the property is subject to a mortgage
  • Reckless actions that endanger the life of a person or the safety of the property of another

Breaking and entering also referred to as criminal trespass, is another common property crime offense in Texas. This type of offense involves the illegal entry into another person’s property, without the consent of the owner. The statutory definition of criminal trespass includes entering property without legal permission, be it: residential land, a building, an RV park, agricultural land, an aircraft or other kinds of vehicle.

In many breaking and entering cases, suspects will pick locks or break windows to gain entry to the structure, but they can also employ fraud or deception (posing as an authority figure or security guard) to gain access to private property. Breaking and entering charges can be filed even in situations where no property was damaged or theft crimes committed. The legal repercussions of a criminal trespass conviction in Texas can be exceedingly harsh, punishable by one year in jail and up to $4000 in fines.

Legal defenses in property crime cases

Most types of property crimes are committed with intent or knowledge of the alleged offense. It is up to the prosecutor to prove that the suspect recklessly, intentionally or knowingly committed the offense, which can be challenging to prove without concrete evidence. There are various arguments that may be used to defend a property crime charge, and a well-qualified attorney will know the most effective strategy to achieve the best results.

Potential defenses may include:

  • Justification– If the act is justifiable because it was committed to prevent public or private harm.
  • Duress– If the alleged offender was threatened with physical harm or coerced to commit the offense.
  • Renunciation– If the alleged offender either made significant efforts to stop the property crime for happening or stopped participating in the act altogether.
  • Reasonable Belief– If the alleged suspect had reasonable belief that they had permission from the owner to enter or use the property.

How Soyars & Morgan Law can help you

We will leverage hard-won experience with the criminal justice system in Texas. If you have been arrested for a property crime, don’t underestimate the value of a reputable criminal defense lawyer. Soyars & Morgan Law has a trusted reputation in the San Antonio and surrounding areas for personalized, aggressive advocacy. For an honest, no-obligation case review, we invite you to reach out today for private consultation.