Title 7 of the Texas Penal Code is dedicated to offenses against property. In most chapters under this title, property is defined as being real property; tangible or intangible personal property including anything severed from land; or a document, including money, that represents or embodies anything of value.
Most property crimes involved people allegedly stealing or damaging property that belongs to another party, but prosecutors are often required to prove that an alleged offender stole or damaged property with the specific intent to deprive the owner of property or damage it. When property is stolen or damaged as the result of an accident or misunderstanding, it can be more difficult to convict the alleged offender.
Lawyer for Property Crimes in Brownsville, TX
Were you arrested or do you think that you could be under investigation for any kind of property offense in the Rio Grande Valley area? Do not say anything to authorities until you have first contacted The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. .
Jonathan Gracia is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Brownsville who defends clients in Hidalgo County, Cameron County, and Willacy County. Call 956-504-2211 to have our lawyer review your case and discuss all of your legal options during a free initial consultation
Overview of Property Crimes in Cameron County
- What are some examples of property offenses?
- Which kinds of defenses can be used against these kinds of charges?
- Where can I find more information about property crimes in Brownsville?
Types of Property Crimes in Texas
In most cases, the manner in which property is damaged or stolen determines the specific criminal offense that a person is charged with. The grade of the alleged offense is usually determined by the amount of damage the crime caused.
Examples of property crimes that The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. often handles include, but are not limited to:
- Burglary of a Motor Vehicle
- Criminal Mischief
- Criminal Trespass
- Reckless Damage or Destruction
Culpability and Defenses for Property Crimes in Brownsville
Under Texas Penal Code § 6.02(a), a person does not commit an offense unless he intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence engages in conduct as the definition of the offense requires. Texas Penal Code § 6.02(b), however, establishes that if the definition of an offense does not prescribe a culpable mental state, a culpable mental state is nevertheless required unless the definition plainly dispenses with any mental element.
Culpable mental states are defined and classified according to relative degrees, from highest to lowest, under Texas Penal Code § 6.03 as follows:
- Intentional — A person acts intentionally, or with intent, with respect to the nature of his conduct or to a result of his conduct when it is his conscious objective or desire to engage in the conduct or cause the result;
- Knowing — A person acts knowingly, or with knowledge, with respect to the nature of his conduct or to circumstances surrounding his conduct when he is aware of the nature of his conduct or that the circumstances exist. A person acts knowingly, or with knowledge, with respect to a result of his conduct when he is aware that his conduct is reasonably certain to cause the result;
- Reckless — A person acts recklessly, or is reckless, with respect to circumstances surrounding his conduct or the result of his conduct when he is aware of but consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that its disregard constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the actor’s standpoint; and
- Criminal Negligence — A person acts with criminal negligence, or is criminally negligent, with respect to circumstances surrounding his conduct or the result of his conduct when he ought to be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the actor’s standpoint.
Higher degrees of culpable mental states can be much more difficult for prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Common defenses against criminal charges for property offenses include, but are not limited to:
- Mistake — Property was accidentally damaged or stolen, possibly because alleged offender believed he or she had ownership claim; or
- Justification — Alleged actions were necessary in order to prevent a greater public or private harm, such as emergency situations requiring property damage to avoid injuries to the alleged offenders or other parties;
- Duress / Coercion — People forced to commit criminal offenses out of the threat of bodily harm to themselves or family members;
- Renunciation — Alleged offenders opted not to participate in criminal offenses or made efforts to prevent such acts from occurring.
Property Crimes Resources in Cameron County
Brownsville Police | Texas | BrownsvillePD.com | Online Reporting — The Brownsville Police Department Citizens’ Online Police Reporting System allows people to submit reports immediately and print copies of police reports for free. In order to use the system, your incident should not be an emergency, the incident must have occurred within the Brownsville City limits, and you must have an email account to receive updates on your report. Incident types that can be reported using the Citizens’ Online Reporting System include property damage, lost property, theft, trespass, and many others.
Brownsville Police Department
600 E. Jackson St.
Brownsville, TX 78520
Cameron County Crime Stoppers — Crime Stopper Programs are organized as not-for-profit organizations, and cash rewards of up to $1,000 are provided to people who furnish information leading to arrests or indictments of suspects involved in criminal offenses. Use this website to view a listing of wanted suspects and submit online tips. You can also find statistics and information about recent news and events.
The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. | Brownsville Property Crimes Defense Lawyer
If you were arrested in South Texas for any kind of property offense, it is in your best interest to exercise your right to remain silent until you have legal counsel. The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. represents both residents and visitors in communities all over Willacy County, Hidalgo County, and Cameron County.
Brownsville criminal defense attorney Jonathan Gracia can fight to help you achieve the most favorable outcome to your case that results in the fewest possible penalties. He can provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation when you call 956-504-2211 or submit an online contact form today.