Auto theft is a growing problem in the Houston area and is a highlighted concern of the Houston Police Department. So much that HPD operates a task force that places a dedicated focus on cases involving thefts of motor vehicles.
An experienced Texas criminal defense lawyer, Mark W. Bennett is well aware of the best strategy to fight such criminal charges and the best methodology for spurring case-dismissals. If you need to contact our legal team, don’t hesitate to call our law office at 713-224-1747.
Common Auto-Theft Cases in Houston
There are numerous instances in which a person could find themselves charged with a theft-related offense involving an automobile.
The most common reason people are arrest for stealing an automobile is “joyriding.” Joyriding is taking a vehicle without the permission of the owner, but with the intention of returning the vehicle.
We’ve seen cases of teens arrested for the offense after “borrowing” a parent’s or neighbor’s car without them knowing, only for them to be stopped and arrested by Houston Police Department officers later.
Carjacking is another criminal act which leads to theft-related charges quite often. The crime occurs when a person is taken from their vehicle by force or fear of threat, only to have their car or truck stolen by the assailant. Although there is no Texas law defining carjacking, but the crime is classifiable as an “aggravated robbery” under Texas theft laws.
Failure to return a rented automobile may also bring theft related criminal charges. Whether you rented a U-Haul truck for moving, or rented a vehicle for temporary usage, not returning it in accordance to terms of the rental agreement could result in criminal charges.
Criminal Penalties for Auto Theft in Texas
As outlined in the criminal penalties section of our main theft page, the severity of the criminal penalties for auto theft is largely related to the value deprived of the owner. In other words, the higher the value of the vehicle or its contents, the more severe the criminal penalty.
Depending on the circumstances of the offense, a defendant convicted of a theft from/of an automobile could face a penalty involving anything from a 20-year prison sentence to nothing more than a small fine.
The Social Penalty
The most damaging penalties of being accused of any form of theft offense are not necessarily the criminal penalties, but the social ones.
Having a theft-related conviction on your criminal record can hurt you in many ways. With theft being a crime indicative of the strength of a person’s moral compass, fighting such an offense is worth it.
A theft-related conviction will stick out like a red flag if you’re ever subject to a background check. In some cases it’s possible to have the criminal record sealed.
In most situations, background checks are requested when a person applies to live in nicer apartment complexes and some communities, applies for employment or seeks a promotion in their current career, seeks to obtain certain licenses, seeks to enroll in an institution of higher learning, and may even be the subject of premarital screenings. Let’s not forget that these are ongoing penalties, lasting long after the defendant has paid their debt to society.
Explore Your Theft Defense Options Immediately
Contact Attorney Mark W. Bennett
If you’re ready to explore your options to defend yourself from a conviction of any level of theft offense in Houston, call 713-224-1747 to schedule a meeting with our legal team.
Led, by Attorney Mark W. Bennett, a Texas Board Certified® Criminal Law Attorney; your defense will be in some of the best hands available.
We’ll be upfront and truthful with you about the possibilities for a favorable outcome for your case based on the evidence, the law, and whether we believe we can win for you or not.