When you are accused of stealing something, especially when you did not steal anything, it is galling. However, accusations of theft can often lead to theft, shoplifting and other property crime charges. And, while some of these offenses are relatively minor misdemeanor charges that only incur a monetary fine from a ticket, convictions for theft related crimes can have long-reaching consequences.
What are the consequences?
Indeed, any subsequent job that has a trust requirement, and most do, even a relatively minor theft crime can mean you will not be offered that job. And, that is in addition to those jobs that refuse to hire anyone with any type of criminal background. In addition to hurting your career, it could also make you ineligible for some or all government funding for schools and ensure that some schools will reject your application. It can also make it impossible to get some professional licensing, even if you already took out loans to pay for the education to attain those licenses.
What do I do?
Take all Houston, Texas, property crime charges seriously, and as the old saying goes, “lawyer up.” Fighting these charges hard is your best chance at ensuring, if it is possible, you can avoid a conviction, or at least, plead down to a lesser charge that may not impact your life or even appear on a criminal background check. Plus, some crimes can be expunged, so pleading down to one that can be charged can mean it could be expunged later. Your attorney can walk you through all of your options.
What about my public defender?
For relatively minor Houston, Texas, crimes that only have a monetary penalty, you may not actually receive a public defender. However, even if you did, your crime is likely low priority for them. After all, public defenders work on the spectrum of cases, and of course, their more serious cases will receive the most resources. Indeed, even for those cases, they do not have enough resources. And, you may have noticed that they immediately asked about pleading, even if you said you were innocent. This is because public defender seldom, if ever, have enough time to take every case to court. This is why many find independent counsel.
How do I find a private attorney?
The first place to look is with friends and family for a referral. But, you should only use that referral if they have experience with your type of case in the same jurisdiction as your case. If you do not have any referrals available, then look to the internet and your local legal bar association. Again, look for an attorney with successful experience in your charge in your jurisdiction, and then, reach out to that list. Find the Houston, Texas, attorney that you feel the most comfortable.