Attorney Paul Key
Over 20 Years of Experience


Theft is another very common offense and one that cuts across all lines. The most typical theft allegation is either a circumstance of alleged shoplifting or "theft by check." Shoplifting cases are generally pretty straightforward, and, frankly hard to defend. This is not always the case, and I will listen to you and defend you in any way that I can. For those of you, however, that know that this is not a misunderstanding, shoplifting is generally hard to defend from a guilt vs. innocence perspective. There are many other aspects of the case to consider, however. I have frequently been successful in having these charges reduced to class-c misdemeanors, which has allowed the client to ultimately have the case expunged no different than had we gotten the charge dismissed.

Theft by check allegations are frequently made in Collin County are historically have been an example of prosecutorial overreaching. The allegation is that one has set out to steal by means of a hot check. In other words, the DA will allege that you walked into the store or wherever, knowing full well that your check was worthless, and then conned the merchant into letting you walk out the door with some merchandise by handing him that worthless check. Surely, such cases exist. It's been my experience, however, in the great majority of these cases in Collin County that the circumstances are more along the line of the following: Someone bounces a check on accident, maybe even due to carelessness, and, for whatever reason, does not pay it back in a timely fashion. The merchant forwards it to the DA to act as the merchant's free collection agent and the DA files theft charges. There's another charge called Issuance of Bad Check that fits this circumstance exactly, but it is only a class-c misdemeanor, so the DA likes to, instead, file the charge as theft. For it to be theft, you have to know that the check is worthless. It's not enough that you were negligent or careless. If you get one of these charges, call me. Don't go plead guilty without talking to a lawyer first. These cases are hard for the DA to prove, and I have been very successful at winning these cases at trial or having the charges dismissed or reduced in a manner that let my clients take it off of their record.