Over the past several years, more and more Americans are relying more on the internet to do their shopping. But ever since the COVID-19 outbreak, online retailers have now become an essential part of our lives.
However, whether it is during the holiday season or a pandemic, many people all over the country have become victims of “porch pirates,” who steal packages and other forms of mail from people’s doorsteps and mailboxes. They either check neighborhoods for unattended homes or wait until a package is delivered before quickly stealing it.
In June 2019, Gov. Greg Abbott signed HB 37 that will increase the criminal penalties for stealing mail either delivered by a carrier or left by a customer for pickup. Effective as of September 2019, the new law makes mail theft in Texas a felony offense and the specific penalties are based on the number of alleged victims the defendant has stolen from.
For example, if someone takes packages from less than 10 homes, then the offense is a state jail felony, which carries a maximum state jail term of two years. Stealing from 20 to 50 homes is a second-degree felony, while stealing from more than 50 homes is a first-degree felony.
If you are convicted, you could face a prison term between six months and 10 years. Furthermore, you may also be subject to a fine worth anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000.
Prior to the new legislation, mail theft in Texas was a misdemeanor offense with a ticket. On the other hand, federal law considers mail theft a felony offense.
If you or a loved one has recently been accused of mail theft or any theft crime in Hidalgo County, contact The Law Office of Rene A. Flores PLLC for a free consultation. Let a former prosecutor fight for you!