You may not think it’s a big deal if you take something from a store, especially something of lesser value. Maybe you think no one will notice, you don’t have the extra cash or maybe you don’t believe something should cost that much. However, if you are arrested for shoplifting, it can turn not only into an embarrassing situation, but also something that can follow you for years to come.
Many think that if you’re caught shoplifting, it is a petty crime that they will be able to handle themselves. However, a shoplifting conviction can affect your education and professional career. In regards to your education, having shoplifting on your criminal record could disqualify you from any federal aid or university scholarships. In regards to your career, a shoplifting offense could affect your current employment or prevent you from getting hired in the future.
Texas Shoplifting Laws
Shoplifting in Texas falls under the theft crime category in the Texas Penal Code. The punishment varies depending on the circumstances, but generally include the following:
- Property valued at less than $100 – Class C misdemeanor and a fine of up to $500
- Property valued from $100 to $750 – Class B misdemeanor, which is up to 180 days of jail time and (or) a fine of up to $2,000
- Property valued from $750 to $2,500 – Class A misdemeanor, which is up to one year of jail time and (or) a fine of up to $4,000
As the value of whatever stolen increases, so do the penalties. Additionally, if you have a previous theft conviction on your record, the penalties will be more severe, regardless of the value of the property stolen.
If you have been arrested and charged with shoplifting, you will want a criminal defense lawyer on your side to help build a defense and ensure this doesn’t haunt you.
Mike Goolsby is a Texas criminal defense attorney who fights for the rights of those arrested in the Dallas, Plano and McKinney areas. He has not lost a case in more than 15 years and does not intend to start now.