Making a mistake and being hit with a theft charge like burglary or workplace theft can be an embarrassing lapse in judgment. However, a theft charge does not automatically mean a court trial or plea deal.
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Getting a theft case dismissed in Houston can occur for a few reasons, including:
- Lack of Probable Cause
- Illegal Search
- Insufficient Evidence
- Pretrial Diversion
Lack of Probable Cause
Probable cause is defined as the standard by which police have reason to obtain a warrant for the arrest of a suspected criminal. The standard also applies to searches of a person or property. Reasonable belief mixed with objective factual circumstance can give a police offer the probable cause needed to make an arrest. Arresting without probable cause can lead to getting a theft case dismissed in Texas.
The firm definition of probable cause is slippery, as the definition is very abstract and open to interpretation. This is where experienced Houston theft attorney Lisa Shapiro Strauss comes into play. We have a strong track record of helping to get theft cases dismissed for many of our Houston, Texas clients.
The law governing illegal search can be complicated. Boiled down to the basics, if a police officer conducts a search without a warrant, an no unique circumstances permit the search, no evidence gathered from the search can be used against you. Plain and simple: an illegal search makes inadmissible evidence. Getting a theft case dismissed in Texas can be routine if a police search is deemed unreasonable.
A search can be done without a warrant. Some of the scenarios that permit a warrantless search include:
- Searches after an arrest
- Seizure of material in plain sight
- Urgent situations
- Inmate searches
Insufficient or Lost Evidence
When prosecutors have very little evidence in a theft case, they may conclude there is not enough evidence to move forward with a trial. The theft attorneys at Lisa Shapiro Strauss law firm fully examine all of the evidence and present the information to the prosecutor. Pointing out the lack of evidence in a theft case will often become a deciding factor in stopping the case and dismissing the charge.
Occasionally, a case my also be dismissed because crucial evidence is lost or a key witness is unavailable to testify. Evidence can be misplaced or misfiled, or even lost during a natural disaster.
For example, in 2017 Hurricane Harvey inundated the Courthouse Annex in northwest Harris County. The property room, where evidence is stored, was flooded and 15,000 pieces of evidence had to be moved. Later, it was discovered that evidence in 11 cases was missing or damaged.
Missing evidence will not automatically lead to a dismissal of a case, but on rare occasions it does happen. The evidence in question must be a crucial part of proving the prosecutor’s case before a dismissal would be considered.
Pretrial diversion is another method for getting a theft case dismissed in Texas. Pretrial diversion is an alternative to prosecution and may be an option if you have no prior criminal history. Pretrial diversion must be applied for and granted by the district attorney. If a client’s application is accepted, you enter into a contract with the D.A. that lays out a plan for community service, anti-theft classes and other possible conditions. There is a price to pay, but pretrial diversion can be a method for dismissing a theft charge.
Have you or a family member been charged with theft? Mistakes happen, but not all theft cases proceed to the trial stage. Having a theft case dismissed in Texas is not uncommon, and the theft attorneys at Lisa Shapiro Strauss law firm in Houston, Texas have represented clients with a terminated case. Contact us today to see if your theft charge has the potential to be dismissed.