Bell County Shoplifting Attorney
It may not seem like a big deal to grab merchandise and pocket it before leaving a store, but the implications of a shoplifting arrest are actually quite serious. The Texas statute on retail theft provides more than just a slap on the wrist for those who violate the law. You could face felony charges in some cases, and you might be surprised to learn how the statute applies to conduct that does not constitute stealing. Even more shocking, you could be detained by a store owner or employee without police involvement.
While the ramifications of a shoplifting arrest may be serious, it is important to remember that the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction. The Law Office of Katie L. Gomez, PLC is dedicated to fighting the charges, so we will develop a legal strategy aimed at getting the best possible outcome. Please contact our firm to schedule a free consultation with a Bell County shoplifting attorney, and read on for an overview of the laws.
Summary of Shoplifting Laws in Texas
Shoplifting is a form of retail theft, so it is defined under the state statute on theft. It is against the law to unlawfully misappropriate property with the intent to deprive its owner of its use and possession. In the context of shoplifting:
- The owner is the store that offers merchandise for sale.
- The taking of the merchandise means it is unavailable for sale to other customers and represents a loss to the store owner, thus a deprivation of use and possession.
- A person could face charges by switching price information, which is illegal despite the fact that he or she does pay for the item.
- It is also a violation of the law to possess, manufacture, or sell a device intended to assist in the crime of shoplifting.
Criminal Punishment for a Shoplifting Conviction
Like other theft offenses, the nature of the charges depends upon the value of the item that was misappropriated. Lower amounts involve less serious charges, but it is a Class A Misdemeanor to shoplift merchandise in excess of $750. For a conviction, a judge could sentence a year in jail and a $4,000 fine. Our Bell County shoplifting defense lawyers at The Law Office of Katie L. Gomez, PLLC are ready to fight the charges, but we are also committed to assisting with more serious shoplifting cases. Penalties increase in severity with higher retail theft amounts:
- Shoplifting $2,500 to $30,000 = State Jail Felony: 180 days to 2 years in prison.
- Retail theft up to $150,000 = Third Degree Felony: 2 to 10 years’ imprisonment.
- Shoplifting more than $300,000 = First Degree Felony: 5 to 99 years or life in prison.
Our Bell County Shoplifting Attorneys Will Advise You on Defenses
If you were arrested for retail theft in Texas, please call 254-330-3214 or go online to reach The Law Office of Katie L. Gomez, PLLC in Temple, TX. We can set up a no-cost consultation with a skilled Bell County shoplifting defense lawyer to discuss next steps.