Understanding Property Crimes

Nearly everyone has heard stories of someone waking up on the floor of a completely trashed hotel room suffering from a significant hangover. These tales might seem to make light of what can be a very serious issue: property crimes. Yet at the same time, they also highlight the fact that there may be times when one may inadvertently be linked to such an offense.

To understand how to defend yourself from an accusation of having committed a property crime, you should first know what they are. In Texas, a property crime is the theft or destruction of another’s property. Common examples of this offense can include larceny, burglary, robbery, shoplifting, arson, or vandalism. Texas in particular also accuses certain forms of financial fraud (specifically, check fraud) as also being a property crime.

While seemingly less serious than crimes against a person, property crimes can carry with them very significant penalties. Some may only net misdemeanor charges, yet even those can result in hefty fines and even jail time. Felony property crimes can leave you facing $10,000 fines and multiple years in prison. The unique circumstances of an alleged offense determine what type of charge you may face.

At first glance, it might seem difficult to defend yourself against a property crime, given that evidence will typically point to your involvement. The central issue to deal with is intent. A Cleburne criminal lawyer will tell you that it must be shown that you intentionally committed an act, or an act that contributed to a property crime, in order to be held criminally culpable for it.

defending property crime charges

Unintentional actions will typically not result in criminal charges. For example, if you’re in a car accident, damage to others’ property is typically not considered a criminal offense. You might even argue that your intoxication or impairment should be considered a mitigating factor to your doing something you otherwise wouldn’t. Given the potential penalties you may face, you may want to work vigorously to exonerate yourself of such charges.