A man was recently arrested on theft charges in a case that involves 10 counties located in both Texas and Oklahoma and involves 8,000 head of cattle as well as loans of more than $5.8 million. The investigation in question began more than a year ago after bank officials at the First United Bank in Sanger attempted to gather the 8,000 cattle as collateral, but were unable to locate them. Through investigatory efforts, it was later determined that none of the animals were legitimately owned by the man who had used them as collateral.
It was later determined that the man was able to deceive the bank through the use of fraudulent documentation. In June 2018, an indictment was made for first-degree felony charges of theft totaling more than $200,000. The man was later arrested and placed in the Witchita County Jail. If convicted, the man could face up to life in prison as well as fines and restitution.
For people facing theft charges in Texas, it can be critical to obtain the services of a skilled criminal attorney who can review their case and help create a strong defense. While theft in Texas is a serious crime, many people are not aware that various defenses can be raised in response to these charges.
Defenses to Texas Theft Charges
Texas law defines theft as permanently depriving a person of the possession of their property without permission. There are several defenses that skilled legal counsel is often able to raise in response to these charges, which include:
- Duress. This defense can be raised if a person committed theft because of a threat of harm to them or their family.
- Entrapment. If a person would not have been arrested without the intervention of law enforcement, an entrapment defense can be raised. While this defense is rarely successful, in the right situation, it can apply.
- Honest mistake. If a person honestly believes the property that was taken belonged to them at the time the offense occurred, and the person can provide evidence supporting this argument, there is a possibility that the honest mistake defense can be raised. Most often, this defense is used by people who borrowed an item but forgot to return it.
- Offense specific defenses. In the case of specific Texas theft charges, there are distinct defenses that exist. Some examples of particular theft charges include property owners who gave consent to the act or a person who was a law enforcement officer acting within the scope of duty,
- Returned property. Many times, raising this defense will not result in the theft charges against a person being dismissed. If a person returned stolen property, a judge might be more sympathetic than if a person had kept the property, which can result in a reduced sentence.
Speak with a Seasoned Criminal Defense Lawyer
A skilled Texas criminal defense attorney can help create a strong strategy to defend against theft charges. Our legal counsel understands that in addition to criminal penalties, a conviction could result in numerous difficulties in obtaining a job and pursuing educational goals. Contact Wheeler Law Office today to schedule a free case evaluation.
(image courtesy of Ivana Cajina)