Under Texas Penal Code § 31, theft crimes are classified by the nature
of the offense and the value of property or services stolen. Shoplifting,
for example, is prosecuted as “theft” because it involves
the unlawful taking of property without an owner’s consent, either
by taking a product from a retailer without paying for it, or by switching
price tags to deprive a retailer of money.
Depending on factors such as a defendant’s criminal history and the
value of property stolen, shoplifting is not always the same as “petty
theft,” which is a term used to describe theft crimes involving
smaller amounts of stolen property. At The Law Offices of Jed Silverman,
our Houston theft crime lawyers have extensive experience handling all
types of shoplifting cases, including the most serious allegations. These
shoplifting offenses may include:
Misdemeanor Theft – Misdemeanor theft is the most common charge prosecuted in cases
of shoplifting. These offenses can include Class C, B, and A misdemeanors
that are prosecuted in accordance to the value of property stolen. If
property was valued at less than $50 dollars, then the crime is considered
a Class C misdemeanor. Class B misdemeanors involve theft of property
between $50 and $500, and Class A misdemeanors involve theft of property
between $500 and $1,500.
State Jail Felony Theft – If the value of property stolen is between $1,500 and $20,000,
you can be charged with a state jail felony, which carries penalties that
include imprisonment in a state jail between 6 months and 2 years, and
/ or fines up to $10,000.
Felony Theft – Felony theft in the first, second, or third degree are the most
serious theft charges one can face. While they are not exceedingly common
in shoplifting cases due to the value of property stolen, they can be
charged in cases where an alleged shoplifter stole multiple times from
a retailer, or stole items of significant worth. The value of property
stolen for these felony theft offenses can range from $20K - $100K for
third degree theft, $100K to $200K for second degree theft, and $200K
or more for third degree theft.
It is important to note that
your criminal history can play a role in the severity of charges and penalties you face for
a shoplifting offense. For example, a prior shoplifting offense of any
type can elevate a Class C misdemeanor to a Class B misdemeanor, even
is property is valued under $50. Two or more prior convictions can also
elevate any theft of less than $1,500 to a state jail felony rather than
a misdemeanor offense. Prior convictions can seriously complicate cases
and result in more severe penalties. Our legal team can discuss how your
criminal history may impact any new shoplifting charges you face.
In addition to fines and possible terms of imprisonment, theft crime convictions
can negatively affect your reputation and your ability to find employment.
As such, you should take any theft allegation seriously if you or someone
you love has been charged, and you should be intent on working with proven
attorneys who know how to effectively defend against these allegations
and work to secure positive resolutions.
At The Law Offices of Jed Silverman, our award-winning lawyers have earned
a reputation for zealously defending the rights and futures of the accused,
including those who have be charged with
theft crimes. Learn more about how our team may be able to help you by discussing your
case during a free consultation.
Contact us today to get started.