Prior Arrest Or Conviction On A Theft Case in Fort Worth

A prior criminal history can make a huge difference because if you are convicted twice of a theft of any value, then you can be charged with a state jail felony-level offense punishable by up to 180 days to two years in state jail and a $10,000 fine. Basically, this is designed to deal with people who repeatedly commit theft. So if they’ve committed theft two times before and have committed it again, it becomes a felony. Of course, if you have committed any level of theft and you have a prior theft conviction, then that can raise the level of punishment.

So if you have committed a misdemeanor theft and you have a prior misdemeanor theft conviction, just one, then that can make the punishment a Class A misdemeanor or a Class A misdemeanor with a minimum punishment of 30 days in jail. If you commit a felony theft and you have a prior felony theft conviction that can raise the level of theft by one level. If you are committing a state jail felony and you have two prior felony convictions, or if you commit a third felony and you have prior felony convictions, then that could raise it to the punishment of a 2nd-degree felony and warrant immediate contact with a Fort Worth theft lawyer.

Alternative Programs For First-Time Theft Offenders In Fort Worth

There are a lot of alternative possibilities. We are able to get many theft cases dismissed, oftentimes just by showing the prosecutor that our client has a good record prior to the one arrest and they’ve even taken some mitigating steps. We are often able to convince the prosecutor to dismiss the case just on that basis. If we can’t do that, we are sometimes able to convince the prosecutor that there are legal or factual problems with the case. Maybe the police violated the person’s rights in some way, or often we can get cases dismissed by having our client participate in a pre-trial diversion program. There are many programs that are available to first-time offenders upon completion of which the case will be dismissed and they will be eligible to have it expunged from their record, meaning that all the records are erased or even destroyed. The record doesn’t show up on a background check, and they are legally entitled to say that it never happened. Those programs are available, so you need an experienced attorney in planning and knowing what programs are available and knowing the different ways that prosecutors can be convinced to dismiss these cases.

Is There A Way To Keep A Theft Charge Off My Record?

The only way to keep a theft charge off your record is to get the case dismissed or to be found not guilty; then the person is eligible to have it expunged. An expunction is a lawsuit filed in district court that causes all the records to be erased and even destroyed so if anyone conducts a background check, the arrest does not show up and the person is legally entitled to say that it never happened, taking them back to the point that they were before they were arrested and preventing their good name and reputation from being destroyed.

There is kind of a hybrid way to get it off the record and not as good as an expunction but is often available even in a worst case scenario for a person. If you receive a deferred adjudication probation, you may be placed on probation where you are not found guilty. It’s called deferred adjudication because the judge defers adjudicating or entering a judgment of guilt provided that the person is successful in completing the probation terms. In this situation, if they successfully complete their probation terms, the charge is dismissed, and they are eligible to file for what’s called a motion for non-disclosure or motion to seal the record. There are some charges which are not eligible to be sealed and there can be waiting periods of up to five years after completion of the deferred adjudication probation. So it is important to have an expert attorney who knows all the in’s and outs of this avenue. This is not as good as an expunction, but it does provide an order that the record is kept confidential from the public so that it doesn’t show up on a background check and a person is legally entitled to say that it didn’t happen. The difference is that law enforcement maintains a record of it; they just don’t disclose it to the public. But if a person gets in trouble again, it can be used against them.

So it’s a good way to hopefully keep the record from negatively affecting you in the future although it’s not quite as good as an expunction.

           

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