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San Antonio Criminal Defense Blog

An overview of Texas shoplifting laws

Shoplifting is a common crime that virtually everyone knows about. Hardly anyone needs to be told that shoplifting is a criminal offense that may come with costly fines and jail time. However, there are many details to the theft laws in Texas that a lot of people do not know about. 

For example, Texas shoplifting laws fall under general theft according to the state penal code. Shoplifting can range from a Class C misdemeanor up to a first-degree felony, depending on the value of items and any previous conviction. 

What are the options when your teen is in legal trouble?

The teen years are hard on everybody, but for some, this challenging time can lead to criminal behavior. The reasons are numerous: a desire to fit in, a way to get attention, curiosity. Even the best of parents can have teens who get into a brush with the law.

Whether this is your teen's first criminal charge or you have dealt with this situation before, you may feel overwhelmed and not know what to do. The legal system for juveniles is different from that for adults, so it is important to have an understanding of how things may go, so you can try to get the best outcome for your child.

Did one of these external factors cause you to commit a crime?

Most people are quick to assume that someone facing criminal charges is automatically guilty and committed the illegal act knowingly and intentionally. While these assumptions can be correct in many cases, they do not always reflect the truth.

It is possible for you to commit a crime unknowingly and/or unintentionally. If this applies in your situation, it is important to establish your defense.

The differences between misdemeanors and felonies

When arrested in Texas, a person faces misdemeanor or felony charges. What determines the charge, and what are the differences? Federal and state guidelines dictate what crimes fit the category, and while initially charged under one, a charge may move to another.

Facts of a crime determine whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony. You should know some of the basics of both.

Juvenile computer hacking is more than harmless fun

Parents are often impressed at how adeptly their teens use a multitude of technologies. Their sons or daughters may spend hours gaming or staring at weird-looking code as they scroll through screens and occasionally type in a symbol or two. Teens often speak to their tech-savvy friends in terms that mystify their parents; however, adults accept the geek-speak as part of today's technology-saturated generation.

In general, teens like to experiment with computer hacking. It is fun and an impressive hack scores bragging rights. Adults usually believe teens hack to download proprietary software, or music and videos. Dimly aware of the criminal aspects, parents may nevertheless be impressed. They see a bright future ahead of their junior tech prodigy who will probably end up with top honors at MIT or Carnegie Mellon and score a lucrative career in computer technology.

Learning more about larceny

Larceny may be thought of as a form of theft or its own crime depending on where the crime is committed. As a general rule, larceny is the act of taking someone else's property in Texas without obtaining permission or using force to get it. Other elements of larceny including walking away with an item and doing so with the intent to deprive the property owner.

In some cases, taking possession of an unmovable item is enough to satisfy the carrying away element. It is important to note that if property is taken away for any lawful reason, it is not larceny. For instance, if a lender repossess property, that is not a crime. The same could be true if a person had permission to borrow or otherwise use an item. If an individual was removing his or her own property from another location, that also would not qualify as larceny.

The expungement of your criminal record lets you start over

If you have a criminal record, it will show up when someone performs a background check, and you will usually have to explain the details about your conviction.

However, under certain circumstances, you may qualify to have your record expunged, and you can go on with your life as though your arrest and conviction never happened.

Texas man sentenced to consecutive life terms

A 59-year-old Texas man has been sentenced to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment plus 20 years for helping to run a violent motorcycle gang involved in drug trafficking. The sentences were handed down by a federal judge on Sept. 22. During a three-month-long trial that concluded in May, prosecutors convinced a jury that the man committed his crimes while acting as the Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Organization's national vice president.

Prosecutors told the jury that the man ordered Bandidos members to commit crimes including intimidation, assault, extortion, robbery and murder to increase the organization's influence and extend its reach. The police investigations into the gang's activities intensified in 2006 when a man who had been recruiting members for the Hells Angels motorcycle gang was found murdered. Investigators say that the man ordered the killing during a motorcycle gang turf war. He was also linked to a 2002 revenge killing.

Marijuana busts on the rise despite increasing legalization

Several states have legalized marijuana for recreational use, although Texas is not one of them. Despite this, a new FBI report shows that marijuana busts are increasing across the nation.

According to the report, which was released on Sept. 24, U.S. law enforcement agencies arrest an average of one American every 48 seconds for alleged marijuana crimes. In 2017, that added up to 659,700 busts. In comparison, there were 653,249 busts in 2016. The report shows that almost 91 percent of those arrests were related to marijuana possession, not to pot growing operations or drug dealing. Meanwhile, arrests related to marijuana growing and dealing actually declined.

NFL player facing DUI charges

Texas residents have likely heard many stories about gifted young athletes who placed their promising and lucrative careers in jeopardy by getting behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs. The latest story involves a Los Angeles Rams practice squad player. Media reports indicate that the player was taken into custody by police in California on the evening of Sept. 16 after a breath test allegedly revealed his blood alcohol concentration to be .17 percent. This is more than double the .08 percent legal driving limit in California.

The chain of events that ended with the player's detention began when officers from the Simi Valley Police Department were dispatched to the area of Sinaloa Road and Royal Avenue to investigate reports of a possible drunk driver. According to the SVPD, several individuals had called 911 about a vehicle being driven recklessly that had struck several objects including mailboxes, trashcans and a bus stop sign. Officers say that they observed and pulled over the vehicle in question a short time later on El Monte Drive in the vicinity of El Lado Drive.