Dallas Organized Retail Theft Charges
Dallas Organized Retail Theft charges have increased in recent months. The Dallas Police Department has targeted this type of offense and is using under cover officers to investigate and make arrest under this statute. Organized Retail Theft falls under Texas Penal Code Section 31.16. Under that statute a person can be charged if they intentionally conduct, promote, or facilitate an activity where they receive, possess, conceal, store sell or dispose of stolen merchandise.
Dallas Officers usually make their case by offering to sell cell phones or tablets. In order to make the case rise to the level of a felony the officers usually try and have more than one transaction. They degree of offense is determined by the value of the items purchased. The law allows prosecutors to combine the value of purchased items from different transactions as long as they involve the same defendant.
In order for the prosecution to secure a conviction they must be able to prove that the defendant knew the items being purchased or sold were stolen merchandise. It is critical to determine what conversations took place between the under cover officer and the defendant. If the issue of knowledge of stolen property can be disputed by the evidence the prosecutors case will be weaker. Entrapment is another defense that should always be explored in these types of cases.
During an investigations of Organized Retail Theft law enforcement often use telephone and video recordings. The criminal attorney should attempt to obtain copies of these recordings as soon as possible. The recordings are often the key evidence for proving whether the defendant he was dealing in stolen property. Just because the prosecution has a recording doesn’t automatically mean the prosecutors have enough evidence. Conversations can be misinterpreted and the attorney and client will need to carefully listen to any recordings so that the best defense can be prepared.