In the corporate world of Galveston, a lot of people become unknowingly involved in certain financial situations that turn out to be unlawful. If this has happened to you, it could prove to be quite a challenge to get out of the charges of fraud or theft.
Legal implications are unavoidable and they could involve anything related to simple shoplifting theft charges or a more complicated involvement in a scam of significant nature. At times like this, a Galveston criminal lawyer is your best friend.
Although the city law regards fraud and theft that has less than $5,000 money involved as a lesser offense, the conviction can have a negative impact on your reputation that can leave you with a negative mark on your professional life, leaving you damaged for the rest of your life.
To make sure that you do not end in such trouble, it is important to understand how the law regards fraud and theft.
The Difference Between Theft and Fraud
Theft and Fraud are often regarded as the same, but there is some degree of difference between them.
- Fraud. If the law finds you acting dishonestly with the intention to deprive another party by switching the price tags of any merchandize or authorizing payments for non-existent goods or services, you could end up being charged with fraud.
- Theft. The offense often occurs when you take away someone else’s property without their permission. To be guilty of theft, you must be aware that the property belonged to someone else and you must have removed that property with the intention to steal it from its original owner.
What are the Possible Charges?
If you have been accused of theft or fraud that involves less than $5,000, the law will determine your charges. The conviction can send you in jail for two years with a less severe charge and it could also result in a fine of $2,000 or less.
When the allegations exceed $5,000, it will automatically become an indictable offense. This can lead you to jail for as long as 14 years with a minimum sentence of 10 years if what you stole is valued more than $5,000.
What are Your Defense Options
All the theft and fraud cases are regarded as serious cases and even first-time offenders can be sent to jail if they are not careful. If you think you have been falsely accused of stealing or fraud, it is a good idea to hire a criminal defense lawyer and have an investigation started into the matter immediately.
The lawyer is capable of ensuring your rights are protected during the trial and before you are brought to the court, the lawyer will ensure that your case is well-investigated. They will collect all the evidence to prove that you were indeed falsely accused of the offenses.
If things don’t go in your way even after you have produced some evidence, a lawyer can always fight to reduce the penalties and jail time.