Theft By Check

Theft By Check

Theft By Check is when a check is written from a closed account, or where insufficient funds were available in the check's account. If the check writer fails to pay within 10 days after receiving the notice, then the store (or person receiving the check) can file charges. Notice to the check writer can be given by the store or the person's bank, notifying of the overcharge.

If there was no account linked to the check, or if that account had been closed prior to the writing of the check, the law holds that a person will be presumed to have knowledge of the lack of funds in an account, and therefore presumed to possess the intent to commit a Theft By Check, where the person had no account with the bank or other drawee at the time he issued the check or order.

Crimes of Moral Turpitude are offenses involving traits of honestly and trust in the community. Offenses that, if convicted, may portrait the person as being dishonest, include Theft, Forgery, Perjury, and other crimes directly related to a person's integrity. Crimes of Moral Turpitude are among the most commonly reported on criminal history background checks, and are scrutinized by potential employers, colleges, landlords, and law enforcement. Even on a Class C Theft.

Convictions of Crimes of Moral Turpitude also have devastating effects with personal rights. They may disqualify a person from serving on jury duty, holding public offices, obtaining licensing and clearance in certain fields, traveling into other counties, obtaining loans and mortgages, and more. They will also be allowed to be disclosed to the jury or judge if you are ever testifying at a hearing or trial.

You can read the specific Statute and Punishments for Theft by Check below.

What You Need To Know

The main issue with a Theft By Check case is to pay off the check. You can also expect to pay the civil fees associated with the bounced check, which can be upwards of $200, depending on the Court or agency.

Depending on the circumstances and whether the person has a history of Theft By Checks, some people can expect a dismissal upon paying off the check, while others could face a conviction, fines, loss of the ability to hold a checking account, probation, and even in some instances, although rare in Travis County, jail.

Closely Related Offenses

Related areas to Theft by Check include offenses under the umbrella of Theft, such as Burglary of a Vehicle, or Shoplifting and Theft.

If you're looking for other offenses that are related to this one, you can see more information below, or click related legal offenses.

Jail Release and Bond for Theft by Check (Hot Checks)

Theft By Check arrests don't usually result in immediate jail. Usually an officer will file arrest warrant for Theft By Check, which will require a Walkthrough to clear the Arrest Warrant. Doing a Walkthrough quickly is important, because most of the time a person does not go into the jail during the surrender process. Call us for more details if you have an active Travis County Arrest Warrant for Theft By Check.

Keates Law Firm can act quickly to assist with a personal bond to release that person. Be sure to read more about Bond, Personal Bonds, and Travis County Jail Releases.

Defenses for Theft by Check (Hot Checks)

Often times in Travis County, Keates Law Firm can negotiate dismissals or reductions of th3e charge, if the amount for the checks can be paid back. This is often the best route to proceed, since defenses are difficult with Theft By Check cases. Still, there are a handful of issues that can be tough for prosecutors to prove, especially if the checks are old.

If you'd like to talk in detail about your situation, or if you have questions, contact us for a Free Case Consultation. Keep in mind, Keates Law Firm only practices in Austin and Travis County.

Work with an Experienced Theft by Check Attorney

Hiring the right attorney from the beginning is important. Poor legal decisions will have a negative effect upon the case as it progresses. The Keates Law Firm has over 16+ Years Experience handling Theft by Check (Hot Checks) cases. Our focus is to try and have the case dismissed against you. We don't even discuss pleas until all legal and negotiation options have been explored in detail.

Call Us to talk about your particular case and situation. It's a 100% Free Phone Consultation with Criminal Defense Attorney Keates. No Sales Pitches, No Hassles. We'll see if we are the right Law Firm for you, and give you a quote. Be sure to check out Keates Law Firm's Reviews and also our past cases and Results.

How We Can Help

Goals vary, depending on a person's charge, criminal history, and other factors, but ideally, the goal should be a reduction of charges, a dismissal, and avoiding jail for any Theft by Check charge. While not every case can be dismissed, often times the goal becomes avoiding jail, or getting a reduced charge, or even getting a favorable probation with a possible dismissal at the end, called Deferred Adjudication. If dismissed, a person can later seek an Expunction of a Criminal Record, which is where a Judge Orders the offense records destroyed, including police reports, court records, and prosecutor files.

Likewise, if Deferred Adjudication is successfully completed, the person can have thier record sealed through Motions for NonDisclosure.

Keates Law Firm has a track record of dismissals for Theft by Check. Most Theft by Check cases result in negotiated dismissals, where there's usually a trade-off of community service and a class in exchange for a dismissal -- but not always. The main hurdle is convincing the prosecutor to agree to dismiss the case, and Keates Law Firm has experience in Austin's Travis County courts doing just that.

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The Law in Texas on Theft by Check

Sec. 31.06. (Presumption on) Theft By Check.

(a) If the actor obtained property or secured performance of service by issuing ... a check ... for the payment of money, when the issuer did not have sufficient funds in ... the bank ... it is prima facie evidence of the issuer's intent to deprive the owner of property under Section 31.03 (Theft).

What are the Punishments?

Depending on the amount of the check written, Theft By Check can be a Misdemeanor or Felony. The breakdowns of values/amounts is the same as used for a regular Theft offense.

Penalties for Theft in Texas
Value of items stolen Level of Offense Punishment Fines
less than $100 Class C Misdemeanor Not Jailable No more than $500 fines
$100 or more but less than $750 Class B Misdemeanor Not more than 180 days in a county jail and/or no more than $2,000 fines
$750 or more but less than $2,500 Class A Misdemeanor Not more than 1 year in a county jail and/or no more than $4,000 fines
$2,500 or more but less than $30,000 State jail felony 180 days to 2 years in a state jail and/or no more than $10,000 fines

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I go to Jail for Theft of Shoplifting in Austin, Texas?
In Travis County, generally not. First Offense Theft cases are typically Misdemeanors, and have a maximum punishment of 6 months in jail, and/or a fine up to $2,000. Probation is also a possibility, as could be a first offender program or plea bargain to a lesser charge.

Can I get a Theft Case Dismissed in Austin, Texas?
Yes, but it's not automatic. An Attorney can review the case and facts, and negotiate a potential dismissal. Often the trade off might be community service and a theft class. Not all dismissals are equal, however. If possible, it's important to have the case dismissed in a manner that would allow for Expunction later.

Do I need a Lawyer for a Theft or Shoplifting case in Austin, Texas?
Yes. Absolutely. Theft is a serious offense. A theft conviction on your records would cause a severe loss of rights, such as the right to sit on a jury in the future. It would also be red-flagged on background checks, since it's considered a Crime of Moral Turpitude (which is a legal terms for a serious type of offense -- even at the Class C ticket level!

Is Theft in Austin Texas a Misdemeanor or Felony?
Theft offenses in Texas are differentiated based on the amount or value of the items taken. For instance, a book taken from a store, normally for sale at $15.99, would be a Class C Theft, since the total value is less than $100. But if $850 worth of DVDs are stolen, then it becomes a Class A misdemeanor, since the value is between $750-$2,500. Class B Thefts are in between, and anything over $1500 is a felony.

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