Under Texas law, theft is the unlawful taking of another person’s property with the deliberate intent to permanently deprive them of their ownership of said property. Juveniles charged with theft may be adjudicated for engaging in delinquent conduct. Theft charges may be prosecuted as a felony or as a misdemeanor depending on the value of the property that was allegedly stolen.
Burglary is defined as the act of entering a private place or structure with the intent of committing some kind of crime. This is a very specific concept; just by virtue of entering – without any committed crime – an individual can be prosecuted for burglary. For example, if an individual broke a lock or broke down a door with the intent of stealing a computer but left the scene without taking anything, that person could still be charged with burglary. Such a scenario is open to numerous questions of intent and entry, which is why it is vital to collaborate with an experienced juvenile defense attorney, as they can help argue the facts sensibly and delicately.
Vandalism, or deliberate behavior aimed at destroying, altering, or defacing property that belongs to another individual, is treated similarly to and can be considered in conjunction with a burglary or theft charge. Under Texas law, vandalism is treated as criminal mischief. Those who willfully or knowingly damage another person’s property are guilty of criminal mischief. Punishment for criminal mischief is congruent to the seriousness of the crime, whereby the value of the property involved is proportional to the severity of punishment. Similar to burglary, vandalism brings with it questions pertaining to intent. It depends on the circumstances, which, again, points to the importance of having an experienced and informed attorney by your side.