Texas takes theft, robbery, and burglary very seriously. It’s important to understand the possible defenses available to you if you are accused in McAllen, Texas.
Theft vs. Robbery vs. Burglary
According to HG Legal Resources, theft generally occurs with smaller acts in values of less than $500 and leads to charges of misdemeanors. According to FindLaw, theft occurs any time there is an unauthorized taking of property from another with the intent to permanently deprive that person of the property.
Robbery occurs through fear, intimidation, and force. The perpetrator enters the property and menaces the victim. The charges are usually felony with far-ranging and devastating penalties.
Burglary is the theft intended once entering the building. Burglaries are generally felonies and could turn into robbery if the person faces another person and uses fear, force, intimidation or a weapon.
- Claim of Right or Ownership of Property: An individual who’s accused of stealing property may have a valid defense if they establish that they had a good faith belief the property they took was theirs or that they had a valid claim to it.
- Return of Property: While returning stolen property generally doesn’t provide a defense to a charge of theft, it can sometimes paint a more sympathetic picture to a prosecutor for purposes of a possible plea deal, and also may help with reducing the penalties in a case. It’s fairly common to defend theft charges by claiming the property was just being “borrowed.”
- Innocence: In a criminal prosecution, the government has the burden of proving that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This burden of proof means that a defendant can often avoid a conviction by attacking the prosecution’s evidence or by offering up evidence that undermines the prosecution’s case. For example, a robbery defendant could offer alibi evidence that they had left the state two days before the robbery took place, or that they had attended an event at the time of the robbery and could provide several witnesses to corroborate that fact. The defense could also challenge eyewitness identifications, security camera videos, or other evidence presented by the prosecution. It’s important to note that the defendant doesn’t have to entirely convince a jury of their actual innocence. Instead, if the defendant is able to cast reasonable doubt on the prosecution’s arguments, the jury should return a verdict of “not guilty.”
- Duress: Though difficult to prove, the defendant may have a complete defense if they show that someone forced them to commit the robbery by threatening them with immediate death or bodily injury.
- Actual Innocence: This most basic and desirable defense, this burglary defense involves convincing the court that the defendant didn’t commit the acts in question.
- It Isn’t What It Seems: Another defense tactic consists of admitting to the court that the defendant engaged in the behavior described by the prosecution, but that it does not amount to a crime. Defendants commonly make the argument that they had the consent of the owner or occupier of the property to enter, thus there was no unauthorized breaking and entry.
- Lack of Intent: Since burglary involves the specific intent to commit a crime once inside a building, proving that you were somehow prevented from having the intent to commit burglary could serve as a viable defense in Texas.
It’s important to note that while some states allow the defenses of entrapment and/or intoxication for theft, robbery, and burglary charges, Texas state law does not allow these defenses. If you were counting on these defenses to get you out of a criminal charge in Texas, think again! Your best chance of avoiding serious convictions is to talk to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
What If You’re Accused?
If you’re accused of theft, robbery, or burglary, it’s essential to get help from a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to avoid conviction. Juan Tijerina has the experience you need to defend your case in McAllen, Texas. Reach out by calling (956) 261-5609 or by sending a message online.
4016 N. 22nd Street
McAllen, Texas 78504
Phone: (956) 261-5609
Phone: (512) 900-1126