Temple Shoplifting Attorney
In Texas, shoplifting is a theft crime which can result in misdemeanor or felony charges. Some people might think a shoplifting accusation is no big deal, but any conviction can dramatically disrupt a person’s life. For this reason, we encourage anyone accused of taking an item from a store to reach out to a Temple shoplifting attorney at The Law Offices of Katie L. Gomez, PLLC today.
Texas does not have a separate shoplifting statute. Instead, the state’s theft law, Texas Penal Code § 31.03, applies whenever a person is accused of stealing from a retail store. Put simply, shoplifting consists of unlawfully taking property with an intent to deprive the owner of it.
There are many examples of shoplifting, but picking up an item and hiding it in your bag or walking out of the store without paying are classic examples. Switching price tags, altering a tag, or swapping out containers can also qualify.
The key with shoplifting is the person’s intent. The crime requires an intent to deprive the owner of the property, so someone who accidentally walks out of a store without paying for an item in the cart has not committed shoplifting.
Shoplifting: Felony or Misdemeanor?
As with other theft crimes, the penalties a person faces will depend on the value of the goods stolen, along with the defendant’s criminal history.
If this is your first offense, then you face the following charges:
- Class C misdemeanor: goods worth less than $100
- Class B misdemeanor: goods worth between $100 and $750
- Class A misdemeanor: goods worth $750 and $2,500
- State jail felony: goods worth between $2,500 and $30,000
- Third-degree felony: goods worth between $30,000 and $150,000
- Second-degree felony: goods worth between $150,000 and $300,000
- First-degree felony: goods worth $300,000 or more
This might not be your first theft offense, which can impact punishment. For example, even if you shoplift goods worth less than $100, you can face Class B misdemeanor charges if you have a prior theft conviction.
Penalties for Shoplifting
The higher the offense, the more time you face in jail/prison and the larger your fine. At our firm, we strive to keep penalties as low as possible, and it is sometimes possible to plead to a lesser charge.
Penalties for criminal offenses are the following:
- Class C misdemeanor: maximum $500 fine (no jail)
- Class B misdemeanor: maximum $2,000 fine and up to 180 days in jail
- Class A misdemeanor: maximum $4,000 fine and up to one year in jail
- State jail felony: maximum $10,000 fine and up to 2 years in jail
- Third-degree felony: maximum $10,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison
- Second-degree felony: maximum $10,000 fine and up to 20 years in prison
- First-degree felony: maximum $10,000 fine and up to 99 years in prison
You Can Fight Shoplifting Charges—Contact Us!
Many shoplifting cases are based on mistakes. The fact is that the store owner mistakenly believes you are stealing an item when you might actually intend to pay or accidentally forgot it was in your cart when you left the store. In other situations, the owner is wrong about who took an item.
Instead of immediately pleading guilty, contact Temple criminal defense lawyer Katie L. Gomez today for a free consultation.