Theft Case ($100 < $750), Misdemeanor Case Dismissed, in Harris County, Texas. Houston Astros Minute Maid Ball Park
This case captured the attention of all the prosecutors involved because of where it took place – Minute Maid Stadium where the Houston Astros play. If you are charged with theft in Texas (or shoplifting), you need an experienced criminal defense attorney that handles theft cases in Harris County, Texas. Theft crimes in Texas can range from a class C misdemeanor to a serious felony where prison time can be at stake. This client was a prominent person in the Houston community had everything to lose.
The following is a list of classifications and corresponding criminal sentencing in Texas:
- Class C Misdemeanor: Property valued under $100. This is punishable by a $500 fine;
- Class B Misdemeanor: Property valued between $100 and $750. It is punishable by no more than 180 days in jail or a fine of up to $2,000;
- Class A Misdemeanor: Property valued at more than $750 but less than $2,500. It is punishable by less than 1 year in jail or a fine of up to $4,000;
- State Jail Felony: Property that is valued at more than $2,500 but at less than $30,000. It is punishable by 180 days in jail to two years in jail or a fine of up to $10,000;
- Third Degree Felony: Property that is valued at more than $30,000 but at less than $150,000. It is punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to $10,000;
- Second Degree Felony: Property valued at more than $150,000 but less than $300,000. It is punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison or a fine of up to $10,000; and
- First Degree Felony: Property valued at more than $300,000. It is punishable by 5 to 99 years or a fine of up to $10,000.
This case allegedly occurred in April 2023 during an Astros baseball game.
This particular case was charged as a class B misdemeanor. Under Texas’s law, a Class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to 180 days in county jail, a fine of as much as $2,000, or both. Further, theft crimes are considered a crime of moral turpitude. For the state to charge someone with theft, they must show the defendant acted with criminal intent, meaning that the defendant knew the property belonged to another person and the defendant knew they didn’t have permission to take the property, and that you actually possessed the property. Prosecutors commonly prove this by using store surveillance recordings, officer body camera recordings, or by statements by defendants or accomplices.
A crime of moral turpitude can be described as a crime that involves dishonesty, fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, or deliberate violence. Even though violence was not alleged in this case, theft is still looked at in a bad light. Moral turpitude crimes have also been described as a crime done knowingly contrary to justice, honesty, principle, or good morals.
Unfortunately, theft cases, whether they are a misdemeanor or a felony, can follow good people around for the rest of their life because they are a crime of moral turpitude. Whether it’s a job application, an apartment application, housing application or even if a family issue arises and you find yourself in front of a family judge, theft cases can come up.
My client was accused of shoplifting two Astros jackets totaling close to $400.00. She was accused of stealing two ‘glitter” jackets while she was leaving the store. Specifically, she was accused of grabbing the two jackets while she was leaving the shop at the Minute Maid ball park after spending close to $1,000 on other merchandise. My client was adamant she did not steal anything. In fact, she was offered a two-hour online class for a dismissal, which she refused. Most clients would accept this offer because it is an easy way to get the case dismissed. I supported her decision, and I told her we will go to court as many times as it takes. I argued the state could not prove an intent to steal property especially since she had receipts from purchasing other items in the store. Finally, the prosecutor agreed with our side of the story and dismissed her case.
However your case is resolved, you need an experienced defense attorney to evaluate the case and fight for the best outcome. My client could have taken the easy way out and accepted the state’s offer for an online class for dismissal, but she wanted to keep fighting and I supported her. After I was able to successfully argue that the state could not prove she had the intent to steal merchandise from Minute Maid Park, the state dismissed the case.