What Are Texas Shoplifting Laws?
Have you been arrested for or accused of shoplifting in Texas? You may feel scared about what will happen and uncertain of your legal recourse. You need to know how the shoplifting laws in Texas could impact you.
The penalties for shoplifting range from paying a fine to spending time in jail, depending on the severity of the crime and whether you have a previous criminal record. Enlisting a lawyer to assist you with your case will help you navigate this difficult time in your life.
What Is Considered Shoplifting in Texas?
Most people know that walking out of a store with goods you did not pay for is shoplifting. Other offenses also fall under the umbrella of shoplifting, such as:
- Fraudulently returning a product to the store, such as returning something you bought somewhere else at a lower price
- Switching price tags on an item
- Concealing an item with the intention of not paying for it
- Under-ringing an item at checkout
You may also be arrested for shoplifting if you assisted a friend in doing any of those things. Security cameras catch a lot of people in the act of putting merchandise in their purse or pants, and the store can stop you before you leave to find the items.
What Penalties Do You Face for Shoplifting in Texas?
Your penalty will largely depend on the value of the item or items stolen. Stealing property worth less than $1,500 will fall into one of three misdemeanor categories:
- Class A: Property worth $50 or less. Penalty: $500 fine, no jail time.
- Class B: Property worth $50 to $500. Penalty: Up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.
- Class C: Property worth $500 to $1,500. Penalty: Up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
You can also be charged with a felony for shoplifting if the property is valued at more than $1,500:
- First felony level: Property worth $1,500 to $20,000. Penalty: Up to two years in state jail and $20,000 fine.
- Second felony level: Property worth $20,000 to $100,000. Penalty: Up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Your sentence may depend on your previous criminal record as well. A merchant could also pursue civil charges against you for damages.
What Are Texas Shoplifting Laws for Minors?
The juvenile justice system will deal with minors who have been charged with shoplifting. The penalties vary depending on the amount of property stolen and the minor’s previous record. A retailer can sue the parents of the minor for actual damages totaling up to $5,000 under Texas law.
Contact Our Shoplifting Lawyers to Discuss Your Case
The right legal counsel can walk you through the often-confusing process of addressing your shoplifting case. The attorneys at Morales & Sparks have experience in this area and understand what strategies will work best for your circumstances. They will listen to your concerns and help you address everything you are worried about. Contact us today to speak to one of our associates.