What Is Shoplifting? | Atascosa County Theft Lawyer

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What Is Shoplifting?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Karnes County Shoplifting AttorneySo a really common crime we see in Texas is shoplifting. Shoplifting is a variation of the theft statute. Theft in Texas law is defined simply as taking someone else's property without their permission. The idea in a shoplifting case is that you're taking retail stores’ items -- their products -- without permission from the store. Now the punishment range associated with shoplifting or other theft cases is directly correlated to the value of the items that are taken. Stealing gum is very different from stealing an iPhone. 

What are the penalties for shoplifting?

So a lot of the information on the Internet is actually incorrect and outdated. In September of 2015 the Texas Legislature updated the statute and the value ladder associated with it. Currently as it stands, any item less than $100 is going to be a Class C violation. Any item valued at $750 or less will be a Class B misdemeanor. Anything under $2,500, it's going to be a Class A misdemeanor. Above $2,500, and you end up looking at felony offenses and the possibility of prison and convictions. Now it is worth noting here that the cases stack as well. What that means is as you get further arrested and further convictions, the punishment ranges become more severe. The idea is that courts and prosecutors want to punish more severely someone who has multiple convictions for shoplifting as opposed to the individual that commits the offense just once in their life.

Are there other crimes related to shoplifting?

So we don't see these crimes often but they are out there. There is a separate offense for being in possession of booster bags or in being in possession of devices used to remove security tags. So if you're found with one of those in addition to the shoplifting charge, you'll get an additional case. We also see organized retail theft. The idea here being that if you're part of some sort of group that is stealing things are shoplifting from stores and then reselling them either on websites, out of your house, or at the flea market, you'll pick up an additional organized retail theft charge as well.

If convicted for shoplifting, what are my options?

So shoplifting particularly of smaller items is generally considered a minor crime. The real issue, however, is that because it's under the theft statute, if you find yourself convicted of a shoplifting charge, you're gonna have a theft on your background. Now the issue here is that employers quite frankly don't like to hire people with theft convictions on their criminal record. If you find yourself charged with shoplifting, give us a call. There's certainly a lot that we can do to keep it off of your record.

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