Most in Plano may believe it to be easy to avoid criminal accusations. For example, in the case of theft, one simply needs to avoid taking something that does not belong to them. That definition seems pretty cut-and-dry, and for the most part, it is. Yet there are those cases where a grey area may exist, in which unsuspecting people may believe that they are not actually doing anything wrong do to a misunderstanding of the law. This very well may contribute to theft being one of the common causes of arrests in Texas (with 63,745 occurring in 2018 alone, according to the state’s Department of Public Safety).

One such instance may be dealing with mislaid property. Most likely believe that if they come across a piece of property (be it cash or a valuable item) and the owner is not in the immediate vicinity, that such property is considered lost and thus theirs to keep. However, the law has special classifications for items and assets that are lost. Texas Supreme Court rulings have defined any property that was apparently left in a place where the owner intended to use it (or return to use it), yet then forgot it as mislaid property. In the event that one finds mislaid property, they are obliged to ensure that it is returned to the owner (leaving it with the owner of the location where it was found is sufficient to meet this obligation.

By contrast, lost property is that which was left by the owner through “neglect, carelessness or inadvertence.” If one finds lost property, they are entitled to keep it if they cannot find its owner in the area in which it was found.