Porch Pirates & Texas Theft Laws
While many people still do their holiday shopping in chaotic and overcrowded malls and shops, others in recent years have bought their gifts online. Vendors such as Amazon, Target, and even Best Buy enable customers to purchase items with a click of a mouse and have them delivered within a few days.
What are Porch Pirates?
However, the rise of online shopping has also led to the rise in “porch pirates,” who steal packages and other forms of mail from doorsteps and mailboxes. They either wait for delivery services such as USPS, UPS, or FedEx to drop off packages or stalk unattended homes before stealing the packages.
New Texas Law Makes Stealing Packages a Felony Offense
In mid-June 2019, Governor Greg Abbot signed House Bill 37, which increases the punishment for stealing mail by making it a felony offense. The new went into effect on September 1, 2019.
According to HB 37, convicted porch pirates can face various felony charges based on the number of people they have stolen from. If an alleged porch pirate steals from less than 10 people, he/she can be charged with a state jail felony, which carries a state jail sentence of up two years and a fine not exceeding $10,000.
If an alleged porch pirate steals from 20 to 50 people, he/she can be charged with a second-degree felony, punishable by a maximum 20-year prison term and a fine no more than $10,000. If the mail theft crime involves more than 50, an alleged porch pirate can be charged with a first-degree felony, which results in life imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.
If an alleged porch pirate targets vulnerable people, then he/she faces increased penalties. Keep in mind, mail theft is also a felony under federal law.
Charged with Mail Theft in Fort Worth? Let The Clark Law Firm Fight for You!
If you have been accused of mail theft in Forth Worth, our legal team at The Clark Law Firm can do our best to help you obtain a favorable outcome in your case. We can review your case and determine all your available options to ensure you avoid serious criminal penalties.
For more information about mail theft in Texas, contact us today at (817) 435-4970.