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Is Shoplifting the Same as Petty Theft?


Petty Theft vs Shoplifting

Under Texas Penal Code § 31, theft crimes are classified by the nature of the offense and the value of property or services stolen. Shoplifting 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.

Scales & Handcuffs: Petty Theft vs Shoplifting

Petty Theft Texas

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.” Petty theft is a term used to describe theft crimes involving smaller amounts of stolen property. At The Law Offices of Jed Silverman, our Houston theft lawyers have extensive experience handling all types of shoplifting cases, including the most serious allegations.

Shoplifting offenses may include the following:

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.

  • Class C misdemeanor - theft of property valued at less than $50.
  • Class B misdemeanor - theft of property between $50 and $500.
  • Class A misdemeanor - 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.

  • Third Degree Theft - stolen property ranging from $20K - $100K
  • Second Degree Theft - stolen property ranging from $100K to $200K
  • First Degree Theft - stolen property ranging from $200K or more

The Impact of Criminal History on Your Penalties

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. 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.

Representation for Your Petty Theft Charges

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.

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