While many people dismiss shoplifting as a relatively minor crime or “petty theft,” this could not be any further from the truth. Those convicted of shoplifting face large fines and potential incarceration, as well as civil damages that are separate from any criminal proceedings.
Andrew J. Williams, Attorney at Law, has more than 15 years of experience. Over the course of this time, he has seen many good people, including juveniles and adults, make poor decisions based on momentary lapses in judgment. Mr. Williams is committed to providing clients with aggressive representation in a nonjudgmental environment. Rest assured, he will do all he can to preserve your freedom and protect your future.
Shoplifting: A Serious Crime With Serious Consequences
Under Texas law, a person is guilty of shoplifting if they unlawfully take property from a commercial enterprise without intending to pay the owner. Shoplifting is considered a form of theft, meaning the classification (misdemeanor or felony) and punishment handed down will depend upon the value of the property stolen.
You will be found guilty of a Class C misdemeanor if the value of the stolen property is less than $50. You may be ordered to pay a fine of up to $500.
You will be found guilty of a Class B misdemeanor if the value of the stolen property is $50 or more but less than $500. You may be ordered to pay a fine of up to $2,000 and sentenced to up to six months in jail.
You will be found guilty of a Class A misdemeanor if the value of the stolen property is $500 or more but less than $1,500. You may be ordered to pay a fine of up to $4,000 and sentenced to up to one year in jail.
You will be found guilty of a state felony if the value of the stolen property is $1,500 or more but less than $20,000. You may be ordered to pay a fine of up to $10,000 and sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.
Whether you have been arrested or convicted of shoplifting, you should strongly consider exploring your options for clearing or sealing your criminal record.
The Texas Theft Liability Act
In addition to criminal charges, you may also face additional liability under the Texas Theft Liability Act (TTLA). This law enables merchants to hold those convicted of shoplifting civilly liable for damages resulting from the theft. The TTLA also states that parents or guardians of minors convicted of shoplifting may be held liable for damages resulting from the theft.
If you have been arrested and charged with shoplifting, don’t panic. Before you speak with store security or law enforcement officials, be certain to speak with an experienced attorney who can explain your rights and outline your options. Don’t compromise your freedom and your future.
For answers to your questions, schedule a complimentary consultation with criminal defense lawyer Andrew J. Williams. He has extensive experience representing minors charged with juvenile crimes. To make an appointment, call 281-358-9111, or use the online contact form.