Whenever there is a major disaster, looting tends to be a big issue. With Houston and other areas along the Gulf Coast being destroyed by Hurricane Harvey over the last week, Texas police have had to deal with some reports of theft and property crimes. Those accused of these crimes could face some significant penalties.
According to a recent report, the Nueces County District Attorney has vowed to seek the maximum penalty in all looting, robbery, burglary and other property crime cases that are committed during and in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. This is quite a significant statement. What does that mean for anyone accused of such crimes?
In Texas, theft and property crimes cases are already treated quite severely. However, convicted offenders, depending on the details of the crimes committed, may have relatively short jail sentences or at least the chance for early release. According to the DA, those convicted of such crimes committed during this most recent disaster will see the longest jail/prison sentences allowed under the law and probation will not be offered.
Some officials are saying that Hurricane Harvey is the worst natural disaster that the state of Texas has ever seen. It has left thousands displaced and in need. While there have been reports of theft and property crimes, they have actually been pretty minimal. Those who do stand accused of such crimes do have the right to defend themselves in a court of law with the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Given this statement by the DA, how one's case is fought really does matter.
Source: kristv.com, "Mandatory prison or jail time for those looting, stealing, and burglarizing during hurricane Harvey", Aug. 26, 2017