Shoplifting is one of the most common theft crimes in Texas. People have various motivations for committing this offense, but many others often face arrest and criminal accusations as the result of a misunderstanding, misidentification, or another mitigating factor.
Texas doesn’t go easy on those convicted of shoplifting. Depending on the value of the property allegedly stolen and other relevant circumstances, a person convicted for shoplifting can face serious fines and even time in prison.
Keep reading to learn more about shoplifting as a crime in Texas and what to do when you’re accused of it.
What Is Shoplifting?
Texas law defines shoplifting as a theft crime that involves the intentional and unlawful taking of property from a retailer, store, or another merchant with the intent to deprive the retailer of payment for the property. It can also be considered shoplifting to have a service performed and leave the premises without paying for the rendered service.
Specific examples of shoplifting can include the following:
- Placing an electronic product in your pocket and leaving the store
- Carrying a television you haven’t paid for through an emergency exit
- Leaving the nail salon without paying for your manicure
In each of these examples, you could face criminal charges because you had something in your possession that you didn’t pay for and left the premises where you should have paid for it.
Your Intent to Shoplift Is Key
Your intent to deprive the retailer of payment matters, but it’s difficult to prove you didn’t intend to shoplift something.
Although you may successfully argue that you simply forgot to pay for your manicure because your mind was on other matters and no one tried to stop you from leaving without paying, it might be more difficult to prove that you didn’t intend to shoplift a large television by leaving through the emergency exit.
Put simply, plenty of people end up unfairly accused of shoplifting. If you think the charges against you are unfair, your criminal defense attorney can help you construct a defense that demonstrates your lack of intent, which may help you reduce or eliminate your liability for criminal charges.
Penalties for Shoplifting in Texas
Shoplifting is a wobbler crime in Texas. This means it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony based on the value of the property in question and other factors, such as whether another offense was committed while shoplifting.
Here’s a breakdown of the possible penalties for a shoplifting conviction in Texas:
- Less than $100 taken: Class C misdemeanor, punishable with a fine of up to $500.
- Between $100 and $750 taken: Class B misdemeanor, punishable with a fine of up to $2,000 and up to 180 days in jail.
- Between $750 and $2,500 taken: Class A misdemeanor, punishable with a fine of up to $4,000 and 180 days in jail.
- Between $2,500 and $30,000 taken: State jail felony, punishable with a fine of up to $10,000 and between 180 days to two years in state jail.
- Between $30,000 and $150,000 taken: Third degree felony, punishable with a fine up to $10,000 and 2-10 years in prison.
- Between $150,000 and $300,000 taken: Second degree felony, punishable with a fine up to $10,000 and 2-22 years in prison
- More than $300,000 taken: First degree felony, punishable with a fine up to $10,000 and 5-99 years in prison.
You can avoid or mitigate these penalties, however, by securing legal representation from competent and experienced criminal defense lawyers. Our legal team at Rodriguez & Gimbert, P.L.L.C. is committed to ensuring our clients’ rights are protected and that they are treated fairly by the criminal justice system.
If you believe you are unfairly facing shoplifting charges in Texas, contact us online and request a consultation.