What You Should Know About Shoplifting In Texas
The term “shoplifting” is one that many people know colloquially, although the specific ways in which shoplifting offenses are charged can be quite complex. According to the Cornell Legal Information Institute (LII), the general definition of shoplifting is often understood to mean “the unauthorized removal of merchandise from a store without paying for it, or intentionally paying less for an item than its sale price.” In addition, shoplifting might include “carrying, hiding, concealing, or otherwise manipulating merchandise with the intent of taking it or paying less for it.” Under Texas law, there is no specific charge for shoplifting. Rather, shoplifting is a type of theft offense, and it can result in misdemeanor or felony charges depending upon the value of the item stolen or that a person attempts to steal.
What do you need to know about shoplifting charges in Texas and defending against the charges you are facing? Consider some of the following key information from an experienced Temple theft defense attorney.
Shoplifting is a Form of Theft Offense Under the Texas Penal Code
You will not find the term “shoplifting” used as a specific offense under the Texas Penal Code, but the absence of the term does not mean that acts understood to constitute shoplifting cannot be prosecuted. To be clear, shoplifting is a form of theft offense under the Texas Penal Code. The statute expressly states that “theft as defined in Section 31.013 constitutes a single offense superseding the separate offenses previously known as theft, theft by false pretext, conversion by a bailee, theft from the person, shoplifting, acquisition of property by threat, swindling, swindling by worthless check, embezzlement, extortion, receiving or concealing embezzled property, and receiving or concealing stolen property.”
According to the statute, theft can be charged in any circumstances in which a person “unlawfully appropriates property with intent to deprive the owner of property.” The statute further explains that the appropriation of another party’s property (including the property of a retail store) is unlawful under any of the following circumstances:
- Property is taken by the defendant without the owner’s consent; or
- Defendant takes possession of the property knowing that it has been stolen by another party (including property in the custody of a law enforcement agency).
Common Examples of Shoplifting
What constitutes shoplifting? The following are common examples of cases in which a theft offense may be charged in connection with shoplifting:
- Person takes a retail product from a store and places it in their pocket or bag with the intention of taking it without paying for it;
- Person switches the price tag on an item in order to pay a lower cost than what the product is actually being sold for;
- Attempting to remove a theft-prevention device on a product; or
- Consuming an edible product in the store to avoid paying for it.
Consequences of Shoplifting in Texas
The penalties upon conviction for a theft offense that involves shoplifting will depend on the value of the item or items in question. A person can face misdemeanor charges for items of less than $2,500 in value, after which shoplifting can result in felony charges.
Contact a Temple Theft Defense Attorney
One of the experienced Temple shoplifting defense lawyers at The Law Office of Katie L. Gomez, PLLC can discuss defense strategies with you today. Do not hesitate to contact us to get started on your defense.