Property Crimes

When a criminal offense involves the theft or destruction of property, the criminal offense is often classified as a property crime. Property crimes can include theft, burglary, arson, shoplifting, and vandalism. Although some property crimes involve the taking of property, property crimes do not involve force or threat of force against a victim.

In 2012, nearly 11% of households in the United States experienced some type of property crime, with theft being the most common offense. Prosecutors in Tarrant County aggressively prosecute property crimes committed in Fort Worth, TX, and the surrounding areas. You also need an agrressive criminal defense attorney to fight these charges pending against you. 

Attorney for Property Crimes in Tarrant County, TX

If you are charged with a property crime then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Fort Worth, TX, at Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy. Our Tarrant County property crime attorneys represent individuals charged with arson, criminal mischief, reckless damage of property, reckless destruction of property and graffiti crimes. 

Call for a free consultation to find out more about the pending charges, the penalties associated with that offense, and important defense that can be used to fight for an outright dismissal of the charges.

Becasue of the impulsive nature of these offenses, many property crimes are committed by juveniles and prosecuted in juvenile court in Tarrant County, TX. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the allegation, call the attorneys at Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy to discuss your case.

Call (817) 422-5350 today.


Texas Penal Code Chapter 28 Property Crimes

The Texas Penal Code in Title 7 list offenses against property including crimes under Chapter 28 for arson, criminal mischief and other offenses involving property damage or destruction. The property crimes described in this article are charged as either a felony or misdemenaor depending on the amount of the property loss or damage and the circumstances in which the crime was committed.


Arson Crimes under Section 28.02

Under Texas law, a person commits the crime of arson if the person starts a fire, regardless of whether the fire continues after ignition, or causes an explosion with intent to destroy or damage property. Arson includes allegations that a person is reckless about whether the burning or explosion will endanger the life of some individual or the safety of the property of another.

Under Section 28.02(a-2), a person commits the offense of arson if the person intentionally starts a fire or causes an explosion and in so doing:

  1. recklessly damages or destroys a building belonging to another; or
  2. recklessly causes another person to suffer bodily injury or death.

Texas law provides for certain types of exceptions when the fire or explosion was a part of the controlled burning of open-space land. Under Section 28.02(c), it is a defense to a prosecution for arson when prior to starting the fire or causing the explosion, the defendant obtained a permit or other written authorization granted in accordance with a city ordinance, if any, regulating fires and explosions.

Under Section 28.02(d), an arson can be charged as a is a felony of the second degree, except that the offense is a felony of the first degree if it is shown on the trial of the offense that:

  • bodily injury or death was suffered by any person by reason of the commission of the offense; or
  • the property intended to be damaged or destroyed by the actor was a habitation or a place of assembly or worship.

Other crimes of arson can be charged as a state jail felony, except that the offense is a felony of the third degree if it is shown on the trial of the offense that bodily injury or death was suffered by any person by reason of the commission of the offense.


Criminal Mischief under Section 28.03

Under Section 28.03, the crime of criminal mischief occurs when, without the effective consent of the owner:

  • intentionally or knowingly damages or destroys the tangible property of the owner;
  • intentionally or knowingly tampers with the tangible property of the owner and causes pecuniary loss or substantial inconvenience to the owner or a third person;  or
  • intentionally or knowingly makes markings, including inscriptions, slogans, drawings, or paintings, on the tangible property of the owner.

In most cases criminal mischief is charged as a Class C misdemeanor if:

  • the amount of pecuniary loss is less than $100; or
  • it causes substantial inconvenience to others. 

Criminal mischief can be charged as a Class B misdemeanor if the amount of pecuniary loss is $100 or more but less than $750. In most cases, the Class A misdemeanor version of criminal mischief can be charged if the amount of pecuniary loss is $750 or more but less than $2,500. 

Criminal mischief can be charged as a state jail felony if the amount of pecuniary loss is $2,500 or more but less than $30,000 or when the loss is less than $2,500 or when the property damaged or destroyed is a habitation and if the damage or destruction is caused by a firearm or explosive weapon. 

The crime of criminal mischief can be charged as:

  • a felony of the third degree if the amount of the pecuniary loss is $30,000 or more but less than $150,000;
  • a felony of the second degree if the amount of pecuniary loss is $150,000 or more but less than $300,000; or
  • a felony of the first degree if the amount of pecuniary loss is $300,000 or more.

Reckless Damage or Destruction under Section 28.04

The crime of reckless damage or destruction occurs when a person, without the effective consent of the owner, he recklessly damages or destroys property of the owner. The crime of reckless destruction or damage to property under Section 28.04 can be charged as a Class C misdemeanor.


Graffiti Crimes under Section 28.08

Crimes for graffiti require proof that a person, without the effective consent of the owner, the person intentionally or knowingly makes markings, including inscriptions, slogans, drawings, or paintings, on the tangible property of the owner with:

  • paint;
  • an indelible marker; or
  • an etching or engraving device.

In most cases, the crime of graffiti is classified as follows: 

  • a Class C misdemeanor if the amount of pecuniary loss is less than $100;
  • a Class B misdemeanor if the amount of pecuniary loss is $100 or more but less than $750;
  • a Class A misdemeanor if the amount of pecuniary loss is $750 or more but less than $2,500;
  • a state jail felony if the amount of pecuniary loss is $2,500 or more but less than $30,000;
  • a felony of the third degree if the amount of pecuniary loss is $30,000 or more but less than $150,000;
  • a felony of the second degree if the amount of pecuniary loss is $150,000 or more but less than $300,000; or
  • a felony of the first degree if the amount of pecuniary loss is $300,000 or more.

The crime of graffiti can be charged as a state jail felony if:

  • the marking is made on a school, an institution of higher education, a place of worship or human burial, a public monument, or a community center that provides medical, social, or educational programs; and
  • the amount of the pecuniary loss to real property or to tangible personal property is $750 or more but less than $30,000.

Additional Resources

Criminal Investigations for Property Crimes in Tarrant County, TX - Visit the website of the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office to learn more about detectives for criminal investigations involving crimes against property including theft, identity theft, credit card abuse, forgery, criminal mischief, residential burglary and commercial burglary.


This article was last updated on Monday, April 17, 2017.