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Receiving Stolen Property in Texas

Stolen goods

According to Texas law, some types of stealing are worse than others.  As scary as it can be to receive criminal charges for theft, you might also be relieved that the charges are not for robbery or burglary.  It is possible to be charged and convicted of theft crimes in Texas if you have stolen property in your possession, even if you are not the one who stole the property from its lawful owner.  In terms of penalties, receiving stolen property is as serious of a charge as theft.  Therefore, it is just as important to have a criminal defense lawyer representing you.  If you are being accused of buying or receiving stolen property, contact a Dallas theft crimes lawyer.

Under Texas Law, Possessing Stolen Property Is as Bad as Stealing It Yourself

Texas law classifies theft according to the value of the items stolen.  In the least severe cases, where the value of the stolen property is $100 or less, theft is a class C misdemeanor, and the maximum possible penalty is a $500 fine; jail time is not a possible sentence for a first-time offense of stealing less than $100 of property.  Conversely, if you steal more than $2,500 of property, theft becomes a state jail felony, where the prison sentence can exceed a year.  If there are exacerbating factors, such as a prior history of theft, then prosecutors can charge you with a higher degree of felony.

As for possession of stolen property, Texas law considers you responsible for the stolen property even if you did not steal it from its original owner, but rather bought it from someone else.  Therefore, you can get charged with a class B misdemeanor if you possess a stolen jacket valued at $200; this is true if you bought the jacket for a fraction of its fair market value, or even if someone gave it to you as a gift.  If the person who gave you the stolen item was several degrees removed from the original thief, this does not decrease your legal responsibility for the stolen item.

Defenses to Charges of Receiving Stolen Property

You are not guilty of receiving stolen property unless you reasonably should have known that the property was stolen.  The law assumes that you should suspect that the item is stolen if it is being sold at much lower than its fair market price.  If you pay $20 for a $200 jacket on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, is this probable cause to charge you with receiving stolen property?  It probably is if you knew that jacket was new, but it probably is not if the seller advertised it as used.  With vehicles, if the ignition was bypassed when you bought the vehicle, you should suspect that it is stolen.  If you are accused of receiving stolen property, you might have a plausible reason for believing that the person who sold or gifted you the property was its legal owner.

Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC About Charges of Receiving Stolen Property

A criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are being charged with receiving stolen property. Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC in Dallas, Texas to discuss your case.


Texas Gambling Laws: A Miasma of Legal Gray Areas

Texas has been trying to live down its reputation as a state full of outlaws for the better part of two centuries, even though its mystique continues to attract self-avowed mavericks and renegades who want to visit the Lone Star State temporarily or relocate here permanently.  For example, even though recreational cannabis is not just for blue states anymore, you will not see Texas inviting all adults to light up a joint anytime soon.  Likewise, in some states, you can find slot machines in every convenience store, but not in Texas.  Texas laws aim to prevent the kind of barroom brawls that make our state look so cool on screen.  You only have to hear Arkansas’s own Johnny Cash sing “A Boy Named Sue” (lyrics courtesy of Chicago’s own Shel Silverstein) once to be convinced that the best place to find trouble is at a poker table.  Therefore, Texas has much more restrictions on gambling than many other states do.  If you are facing criminal charges for illegal gambling, contact a Dallas white collar crimes lawyer.

Yes to Charity Bingo, No to Sports Betting

Texas law defines gambling as games of luck, where winners receive cash prizes.  The following types of gambling are legal in Texas:

·   ​Bingo games and raffles organized by charitable organizations, where the charity keeps a portion of the proceeds and distributes the rest to winners

·   ​Betting on horse races or dog races at racetracks

·   ​The state lottery, where a portion of the proceeds fund public education in Texas

Casino gambling is illegal in Texas, except for two casinos located on tribal land.  If you are hearing the siren song of the roulette table or the slot machines, you will have to take a road trip to New Orleans or Las Vegas.  Likewise, sports betting is against the law in Texas.  Informal poker games are a gray area; they are technically not illegal if the game takes place in a private residence and the house does not take any money off the top; in other words, the winners must take all the proceeds.

What to Do If You Get Accused of Illegal Gambling

You will probably not get arrested every time you play poker with your buddies in their living room on a Friday night or every time you and your coworkers place bets on March Madness.  The fact remains, though, that most gambling is illegal in Texas, even types of gambling that other states consider harmless.  Most criminal charges for gambling are misdemeanors, but they range from class C to class A, and for the more severe charges, you can face a jail sentence if convicted.   Therefore, it is important to hire a criminal defense lawyer if you are being accused of participating in illegal gambling activities.  You always have the right to representation by a criminal defense lawyer, no matter how minor or major the crime.

Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC About Charges of Illegal Gambling

A criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are being charged with illegal sports betting or another form of illegal gambling. Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC in to discuss your case.

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