An arrest for the crime of larceny, or theft, can leave you feeling a range of emotions, including fear, worry and even embarrassment. You may wonder how a theft charge will impact your reputation and your future.

Fortunately, just because authorities in Texas have charged you with larceny does not mean you are automatically guilty. Instead, you are presumed innocent until and unless the government can prove your guilt in court.

What is theft?

Larceny is essentially taking property that belongs to another person. However, it also involves taking property that you know somebody has stolen. For instance, perhaps you own your own pawn shop. A man enters your shop to sell you a television set that you know he has pilfered from someone else. In this situation, if you take the television set, you have committed theft.

In addition, perhaps a woman sold you a car but did not give you a pink slip — a correctly executed title certificate. If you do not report this to the state’s motor vehicle department, you have essentially committed a crime.

Consequences for theft in Texas

The value of the property that you reportedly stole dictates what your punishment will be if you face a theft conviction in the Lone Star State. For instance, if you end up with a conviction for stealing no more than $50, this is a Class C misdemeanor. The consequence may be nothing more than a $500 fine.

Meanwhile, a felony in the first degree — basically stealing at least $200,000 — may lead to a prison sentence of between five and 99 years as well as a potential fine of $10,000.

Your rights when accused of larceny

If you face a theft charge, you have the right to proceed to trial to fight this charge. At trial, you cannot face a conviction until and unless prosecutors can prove every element of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt — a feat that is oftentimes difficult to accomplish.

Alternatively, you may choose to seek to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution. This may benefit you in the long run by leading to a more lenient sentence than what would result from a guilty verdict at trial. An attorney can provide you with the guidance needed to attain the most personally favorable outcome for you given the facts of your larceny case.