Property crimes involve a person destroying, altering, trespassing, or stealing property from another person, business or institution. Crimes such as arson, graffiti and burglary are considered a property crime since the property was trespassed upon, altered, or destroyed.
Those charged with property crimes may face heavy penalties. A conviction can bring legal consequences such as steep fines, possible incarceration, and a criminal record. Even minor offenses, such as vandalism, can bring a person to Texas criminal courts.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a property crime, it is in your best interest to seek the counsel of a property crimes lawyer.
Texas Property Crimes Lawyer
Property crimes can result in severe legal repercussions. It is important that you obtain trusted legal representation immediately. Law enforcement and prosecution will not back down from filing criminal charges. Get in contact with Brian Benken at The Benken Law Firm today.
Attorney Brian Benken is dedicated to criminal defense. Using effective and efficient methods, he will formulate a strong defense for you. Brian Benken will collect evidence, file motions, and use his resources to get you the best possible result for your case. Get ahead with The Benken Law Firm.
Brian Benken at The Benken Law Firm practices law throughout all communities in Harris County and the greater Houston area including Greenspoint, Westchase, Meyerland, and Magnolia Park. Call us today at (713) 223 - 4051 to schedule a free consultation.
Overview for Property Crimes in Texas
- Common Property Offenses
- Penalties for Property Crimes
- Defenses for Property Crimes in Texas
- Additional Resources
Common Property Offenses in Harris County, Texas
Property offenses are an umbrella term for a multitude of crimes under Texas law. A property offense can be invading a property, destroying property, or altering a property without consent. The following are common property crimes in Texas.
- Criminal Mischief/Vandalism – A person commits criminal mischief if he or she damages, destroys, tampers, or makes markings on another person’s property without permission. Criminal mischief can incorporate a wide variety of scenarios. It’s normally associated with juvenile acts such as vandalism or “egging” a person’s vehicle.
- Graffiti – A person commits graffiti if he or she intentionally makes markings on another’s property such as inscriptions, slogans, drawings or paintings. Usually this crime is associated with criminal mischief and juveniles.
- Reckless Damage or Destruction – If a person recklessly damages or destroys another’s property, he or she will be charged with reckless damage or destruction.
- Arson – A person commits arson if he or she intentionally and knowingly starts a fire, regardless if it continues after ignition, or causes an explosion with intent to destroy or damage any property.
- Burglary – A person commits burglary if he or she enters a home or building to commit theft, assault or a felony. It can also include entering a building while it is open to the public, and then remaining hidden until it is closed.
- Burglary of a Habitation – A person commits burglary of a habitation if they burglarize another’s home or structure that is adapted for overnight accommodations.
- Burglary of a Vehicle – A person commits burglary of a vehicle if he or she enters a vehicle with the intent to commit any felony crime or theft.
- Criminal Trespass – A person commits criminal trespass if he or she enters or remains in a property of another without valid consent. The alleged offender also must have had their entry forbidden or received notice a leave the premises prior.
Texas Penalties for Property Crimes in Harris County, Texas
The penalties for property crimes are reliant on the circumstances of the offense. Factors such as the value of the property, the damage caused, and the alleged offender’s prior criminal history can all affect sentencing.
The following are the penalties for property offenses in the state of Texas.
- Class C Misdemeanor – Punishable with a fine up to $500.
- An example of conviction for a Class C misdemeanor is if a person commits criminal mischief and the amount of pecuniary loss is less than $100.
- Class B Misdemeanor – Punishable by up to 180 days in Harris County jail, and a fine of up to $2,000.
- An example of this is if a person commits criminal trespass without aggravating factors, he or she will face a Class B misdemeanor.
- Class A Misdemeanor – Punishable by up to 12 months in Harris County jail, and a fine of up to $4,000.
- An example of this is if a person commits burglary of a vehicle he or she will face a Class A misdemeanor.
- State Jail Felony – Punishable with a minimum of 180 days and a maximum of 24 months in jail, and a fine of up to $10,000.
- A conviction of burglary of a building other than a habitation will result in a state jail felony.
- Third Degree Felony – Punishable with a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 10 years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000.
- A person will receive a third-degree felony if bodily injury or death occurs due to the alleged offender’s arson of a property.
- Second Degree Felony – Punishable with a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 20 years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000.
- An example of this is if a person commits criminal mischief where the pecuniary loss is $150,000 or more but less than $300,00.
- First Degree Felony – Punishable with a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 99 or life imprisonment, and a fine of up to $10,000.
- If any person commits burglary of a habitation, he or she will face a first-degree felony.
Defenses for Property Crimes in Texas
The following legal defense strategies can be extremely beneficial when defending against property crimes in Texas:
- Necessity: An alleged offender may be able to use this defense if they committed a destruction of property and argues that the act was necessary under certain emergency situations. For example, a person might need to break a window to escape a fire.
- Duress: If an alleged offender was charged with committing a property crime, they can use this defense if they were threatened by another person to cause injury to them or a third party if they did not commit the offense.
- Reasonable Belief: An alleged offender may be able to use this offense if he or she reasonably believed they had the owner’s permission to enter the property.
Texas Burglary & Criminal Trespass Laws – Visit the official website for the Texas Penal Code. Find more information regarding burglary and criminal trespass offenses in Texas. Learn the charge specifics, penalties, and admissible defenses in court.
Texas Property Damage Laws – Visit the official website for the Texas Penal Code. Find more information surrounding arson, criminal mischief, and other property damage offenses. Learn the charge specifics, penalties, and how the court determines value.
Houston Property Crimes Attorney | Harris County, TX
If you or someone you know has been charged with a property offense, it is in your best interest to obtain legal representation. Brian Benken at The Benken Law Firm understands the ins and outs of property law.
Attorney Brian Benken is passionate about criminal defense. He will go to work for you, collecting evidence, filing motions, and doing whatever is possible to get your charges reduced or dismissed. Do not be hesitant when it comes to your freedom. Contact Brian Benken at The Benken Law Firm today.
The Benken Law Firm defend those accused of property offenses throughout all communities in Harris County and surrounding counties in Texas. Call us at (713) 223 - 4051 for a free consultation.