A routine traffic stop can sometimes result in serous consequences. This was illustrated recently when two Houston men were charged with theft aggregate after 46 packages of stolen meat were found in their vehicle.
According to a local constable, the packages of meat were stolen from multiple grocery stores around the area and included various types of meat including steak, lamb chops, shrimp and oxtails. The total value of the stolen meat came to over $1,100.
What is theft aggregate?
Theft is a serious crime in Texas that comes with high penalties, including potential prison time. Theft aggregate occurs when a person commits two or more thefts pursuant to one scheme or continuing course of conduct.
Theft aggregate can be either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on what was stolen, how it was stolen, who it was stolen from and the value of the property. If the value of the property is more than $2,500, you could be facing a felony charge.
It is scary to think that you might be charged with a felony after a routine traffic stop. Police officers must have reasonable suspicion to initially pull you over. During the stop, they have no right to search your vehicle without probable cause to believe it contains evidence of criminal activity.
For example, if a police officer pulls you over for speeding and sees large quantities of items piled up in the backseat, there might be probable cause to search your vehicle to determine if the items were stolen.
Defending against a theft charge
There are several potential defenses to a theft charge. In an aggregate theft case, you can only be convicted if you are found guilty of at least two of the offenses. If there is not enough evidence to convict you of two of the offenses, the charge could be dismissed or you could be found not guilty.
If you have been arrested and charged with a crime such as theft after a routine vehicle stop in Texas, you should exercise your right to remain silent and take immediate action to protect your rights.