As a criminal theft attorney in San Marcos, I handle a variety of different cases for people of all ages and backgrounds. I am constantly amazed that many people charged with theft either try to handle their case themselves or settle for something less than an ideal outcome.

If you are charged with theft, you must have your case resolved in a way that makes you eligible to expunge your arrest. Your arrest can only be expunged if your case is dismissed without a court-ordered probation.

Many potential employers will overlook a DWI arrest as a “stupid mistake” instead of a larger problem. However, no one wants to hire someone who has a theft arrest because they don’t feel like they are trustworthy.

policeman arresting person charged with criminal theft
If people don’t trust you, they won’t hire you.

You need to hire the theft attorneys at the Law Office of Lance Turnbow and get yourself eligible to expunge your arrest. It will always show up on background checks until it is expunged.

The Legal Definition of Theft

Theft also referred to as “larceny,” is a type of crime that occurs when a person is accused of taking someone else’s property without his/her consent with the intention of depriving the property from the owner.

In other words, the accused person had no intention of returning the stolen property to the owner.

Legally, theft as a crime covers fraud, identity theft, embezzlement, and stealing of properties and services.

Types of Theft Charges

Theft charges exist in different forms, which are determined by the circumstances of your offense.

These are the most common types of theft charges you can be convicted of:

Retail Theft

Retail theft is among the most common types of offenses. This type of offense entails all crimes committed against retail establishments. These offenses include changing price tags so that one can pay less, shoplifting items, switching the packaging of goods so that one can spend less, or falsely returning items to obtain credit or cash from the store. Our shoplifting lawyers can provide you with more information about retail theft, all the penalties involved, and how they can defend you against these accusations.

Credit Card Fraud

This is a type of offense where one illegally obtains a debit or credit or uses another person’s card without their knowledge. Others also use expired cards or pretend to be cardholders in order to obtain money, services, or property. Credit card fraud is also considered a felony, regardless of the amount of money involved.

Armed Robbery

When the thieves intimidate their victims using guns, knives, or any other type of weapon, the theft is classified as armed robbery. Since the participants use dangerous weapons to execute their mission, armed robbery has a more severe conviction than ordinary robbery. One can be jailed for up to nine years if he/she is convicted of armed robbery.


Theft basically covers any crime that involves taking property or money that doesn’t belong to you. Theft can either be classified as petty theft or as grand theft depending on the value of the stolen goods.

Car Theft

One is convicted of car theft if he/she is involved in stealing a motor vehicle. These vehicles include trucks, buses, trailers, and any other type of automobile that can be used for transportation.


Burglary is a type of theft charge where one enters a vehicle or building without the victim’s consent with the intention of stealing or committing a felony. Burglary has more severe penalties, especially if it’s cited as a home invasion.


Embezzlement involves the stealing of assets (property or money) by an individual who has been given the duty of keeping those assets safe. This type of theft crime mostly takes place in employment, corporate and government settings. Our experienced lawyers also offer defense services to individuals accused of embezzlement.

Fraud and Forgery

Fraud is a type of theft that involves deceiving the victim to hand over the ownership of his/her property under pretense. On the other hand, forgery is a type of theft that involves the use of fake documents to obtain property from unsuspicious individuals. Fraud and forgery crimes don’t involve violence.


Robbery is a type of theft whereby you’re accused of using threats, intimidation, or using violence to obtain property from your victims. Robbery often carries a more significant penalty than regular theft because of the added element of threatening the victim.

The Degrees of Theft

According to the law, theft has different degrees, each with different levels of punishment. The value of the stolen property determines these levels. Generally, there are two main degrees of theft: petit theft and grand theft.

Grand Theft

Theft is categorized as grand theft if it’s considered a severe offense. Grand theft is categorized into three degrees which include:

  • First-Degree Grand Theft- This is the stealing of property that’s valued at over $100,000. Other types of theft including those that involve the use of vehicles, or those that cause real property damage, are also classified as first-degree offenses.
  • Second-Degree Grand Theft- This is the theft of property valued from $20,000 to $100,000. This also covers the theft of medical equipment of the same value. The medical equipment stolen should have a value of more than $300 to fall into this category.
  • Third-Degree Grand Theft- This is the theft of property valued from $300 to $20,000.The theft of firearms, wills, vehicles, stop signs, and fire extinguishers, also fall under this category, regardless of their value.

Petit Theft

Petit theft is any theft that doesn’t qualify as grand theft. This is basically the theft of property with a value of less than $300. Petit theft is also divided into different degrees. These include:

  • First-Degree Petit Theft- If the stolen property has a value of between $100 and $300, then the crime is classified under this category.
  • Second-Degree Petit Theft- This is the crime of stealing property with a value of less than $100.

On top of these categories, if you’ve been convicted more than two times in the past, a petite crime will be treated as a felony of the third degree.

In case you need any clarification about these classifications, you can always contact our experts for a detailed breakdown of each category and the consequences involved.

What Are The Consequences Of Being Convicted Of Theft Or Fraud?

  • Serving jail time or prison
  • Paying hefty fines, court fees, or compensation
  • Getting permanent criminal records that may affect your career
  • Problems in getting rental houses
  • Losing professional licenses that may hinder you from working as a public servant or any other licensed profession
  • Losing your green card, immigration visa, being denied citizenship, or even getting deported if you are a non-citizen

Hire the Best Theft Lawyer in San Marcos

However overwhelming and stressful a criminal theft charge may seem, you can always avoid the penalties or reduce your charges by using our skilled theft lawyers.

If you live in San Marcos or the surrounding areas in Texas and you need help fighting criminal theft charges, contact The Law Office of Lance Turnbow. Our criminal defense law firm has a reputation and proven track record of aggressively defending and winning our client’s cases in court.

Lance Turnbow criminal lawyer