R. Todd Bennett, P.C.
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Man witnesses burglary of wife's car in Harris County

Police frequently rely upon eyewitnesses to help solve crimes. When theft crimes take place in public areas, there is a chance that the crime will be observed by eyewitnesses. A Harris County man became an unexpected witness to the theft of Christmas gifts from his wife's car and was able to give police a description and partial license plate number of the getaway vehicle.

Later, when police spotted a vehicle matching the description of the one the witness gave them earlier in the day, they took the three occupants of the vehicle back for identification by the witness. Police released one of the men, but arrested a juvenile and a 17-year-old man on burglary charges. Police also recovered stolen Christmas presents and other property from the vehicle.

Violation of the Texas theft statute subjects an offender to serious penalties at sentencing, including jail or imprisonment, fines, probation or community service. A misdemeanor or felony conviction record can have far-reaching consequences. If a person with a prior criminal record is arrested again, the potential penalties usually increase in severity based upon the prior conviction.

Criminal defense attorneys can help a person charged with violating the Texas theft statute by utilizing a defense strategy designed to attack and weaken the strengths of the prosecution case against the accused. A defense attorney might attempt to discredit the observations of an eyewitness by questioning the ability of the witness to have seen what he claims to have observed.

Lighting conditions, distance, obstructed or unobstructed view and other conditions at the time of the observation by the witness are factors a defense attorney would investigate in representing a person accused of a theft crime. The goal is to discredit the witness and weaken the link between the accused and the criminal activity.

Source: Houston Chronicle, "Teens charged after Christmas presents stolen from family's car," Erin Mulvaney, Dec. 20, 2012

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