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The Importance of Avoiding Conviction for Your Houston Theft Charge?

Facing a theft charge in Houston can be a daunting experience. It is vitally important that anyone accused of theft do everything they can to avoid a theft conviction.

Why Must You Avoid a Theft Conviction

A conviction for any theft offense will have a far-reaching negative impact on the accused’s life in many ways.  Theft is considered a “Crime Involving Moral Turpitude.” A conviction for a “Crime involving Moral Turpitude” reflects poorly on the person’s character. Specifically, a “Crime Involving Moral Turpitude’, like theft, is a crime that reflects poorly on the person’s character for honesty. In other words, a person convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, like theft, is deemed presumptively dishonest and untrustworthy.

A conviction for theft will make life far more difficult for the accused. Job applications, Loan applications, and License applications routinely ask if the applicant has ever been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude or of a theft crime. Those convicted for any crime involving moral turpitude, like theft, often find doors slammed in their face. A person with a theft conviction will often find it hard to find employment. No employer wants to hire a thief or a person deemed to be dishonest. A person with a theft conviction will also routinely find loans and other applications denied. Simply put, banks and other institutions do not want to loan money to people with theft convictions.

How Do You Avoid a Theft Conviction – Winning Trial

You have a right to plead Not Guilty and go to trial. If you go to trial and you are found Not Guilty, you will have avoided a theft conviction.  Many people do not want to take the inherent risks involved with a trial. One may go to trial and be convicted. There is never any certainty what a jury or judge will do. However, the choice of whether to go to trial is one that an accused person should only make after thorough consultation with their lawyer.

How Do You Avoid a Theft  Conviction – Dismissal

Your lawyer should proactively investigate your case. In some cases, your lawyer may be able to locate evidence that demonstrates that you are not guilty of theft. In some cases, a key witness or piece of evidence, like a videotape, may demonstrate that you are not guilty. If your lawyer can get your theft charge dismissed by the prosecutor, that avoids a trial and a conviction. Obtaining a dismissal of a theft charge is always a good outcome when it can be achieved.

Trials are inherently uncertain, and the outcome is not guaranteed. A plea bargain provides a level of predictability as both parties agree to specific terms. This certainty can appeal to individuals who want to avoid the emotional and financial toll of a protracted legal battle.

How Do You Avoid a Theft  Conviction –Pre-Trial Intervention

In some cases, your lawyer may be able to obtain a Pretrial Intervention agreement. These are also sometimes called pretrial diversion. These agreements with the prosecuting authority entail the accused being on something like probation without actually being on probation. The basic agreement is that if the accused completes everything he has agreed to, at the conclusion of the agreed-upon time, the prosecutor will dismiss the case. Pretrial interventions can be performed at any length of time. However, they are typically no longer than a year. The conditions vary according to the charge and the jurisdiction. In a theft case, the accused typically agrees to take an anti-theft class and complete a specific number of hours of community service. If the accused successfully completes a pre-trial diversion at the conclusion, the case is dismissed, and there is no conviction.

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Deferred Adjudication

In some cases, your lawyer may not be able to obtain a Pretrial Intervention agreement. In these cases, your lawyer may be able to obtain an agreement for deferred adjudication probation.  In Texas, a deferred adjudication is a form of probation that, for most purposes, is not considered a conviction. Under some Federal laws, deferred adjudications are treated as convictions. However, a deferred adjudication is not considered a conviction for Texas law.

In Texas, deferred adjudication probation may be obtained through plea bargaining. In a deferred adjudication, the accused enters a plea of guilty or no contest to the crime. The court finds that although there is sufficient evidence to find the accused guilty, it will not enter a finding of guilt. The court announces that it will defer any finding of guilt and place the accused on deferred adjudication for a period of time.

While on deferred adjudication probation, the accused will have a set of conditions that they will be required to follow. If the accused successfully completes the deferred adjudication, then the accused is never found guilty of the offense and never convicted. On the other hand, if the accused violates the terms and conditions of the deferred adjudication, the state will file a motion to adjudicate. In this motion, the state will seek to have the court find that the accused violated the conditions of the deferred adjudication. If the Court finds that the accused violated the conditions of a deferred adjudication, the court can proceed to find the accused guilty and sentence the accused. In this situation, the accused will lose the deferred adjudication benefit and be convicted of the offense. Deferred Adjudication only avoids a conviction if the accused successfully completes the deferred adjudication.

While plea bargains may offer several advantages, it’s crucial to carefully evaluate the circumstances before deciding whether to pursue this option.

Strength of the Evidence

The strength of the evidence against the defendant is a critical factor in deciding whether to accept a plea bargain. If the evidence is overwhelming, a plea bargain might be a pragmatic choice to minimize potential consequences.

Legal Costs and Time

Legal proceedings can be time-consuming and expensive. Individuals facing theft charges should consider the financial and emotional toll of a trial versus the potential benefits of a plea bargain.

Prior Criminal Record

Individuals with prior criminal records may be more inclined to consider a plea bargain, as the consequences of a conviction could be more severe due to repeat offenses.

Building a Strong Defense

Building a strong defense is essential whether one pursues a plea bargain or not. Consulting with an experienced criminal defense lawyer is crucial in navigating the complexities of theft cases.

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Legal Expertise

An experienced lawyer can assess the strength of the prosecution’s case, identify potential weaknesses, and strategize the best course of action. They may negotiate more favorable terms in a plea bargain or build a robust defense for trial.

Investigation and Evidence

A skilled defense attorney will conduct a thorough investigation, gathering evidence that could be used to challenge the prosecution’s case. This may involve questioning the reliability of witness statements or examining the legality of evidence collection.

Legal Procedures and Rights

Understanding legal procedures and asserting one’s rights is crucial in any criminal defense. A knowledgeable attorney can protect the defendant’s rights throughout the legal process.

Defending Against Houston Theft Charges

The decision to accept a plea bargain is complex and personal. It involves careful consideration of the evidence, potential consequences, and individual circumstances. Regardless of the chosen path, the importance of building a strong defense with the guidance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer cannot be overstated.

By doing so, individuals can navigate the legal landscape more effectively, whether through negotiation or a trial and work towards the best possible outcome given their unique situa

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