Shoplifting is a serious crime. Many teens and young adults may think that shoplifting is a small matter, but shoplifting is a theft crime and a theft conviction can have serious and lifelong consequences. It only takes one brief, impulsive and poor decision to shoplift to ruin your future. In addition to the embarrassment and possible stigma of a theft conviction, other consequences could include:
Cannot Get a Job. Most employers will not hire you if you have a theft conviction on your record. If you lie on your job application to obtain employment, you will be fired a short time later. Criminal records can easily be checked by employers online at the website of the Harris County District Clerk. When there is already widespread unemployment due to a slow economy, a theft conviction could make you unemployable.
Cannot Return to the Store. If you were caught shoplifting, the store owner may permanently ban you from returning. If the store is the only nearby grocery, then that could be a big inconvenience or worse.
A 3rd Shoplifting Conviction Is a Felony. If you get caught shoplifting after having been previously convicted two or more times of theft, you will be charged with a state jail felony.
Houston Retail Theft Offenses
According to Texas Penal Code §31.03, a person can be charged with retail theft or shoplifting if he intentionally and unlawfully takes property from a store, retailer or merchant, with the intent to deprive the store or retailer of the property without their consent.
Houston Shoplifting Penalties
Retail theft penalties vary depending on the value of the property stolen, whether the alleged offender has previous convictions, the kind of property stolen and how the alleged offender committed the act. The basic statutory penalties for shoplifting offenses are as follows:
If the value of the property stolen is less than $100, a class C misdemeanor is punishable by a fine up to $500.
If the value of the property stolen is $100 or more but less than $750, a person charged with theft can be convicted of a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine not to exceed $2,000, a jail sentence of up to 180 days, or both.
If the value of the property stolen is $750 or more but less than $2,500, a person charged with theft can be convicted of a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine not to exceed $4,000, a jail sentence of up to one year, or both.
If the value of the property stolen is $2,500 or more but less than $30,000, a person charged with theft can be convicted of a state jail felony, which is punishable by a state jail sentence ranging from 180 days to two years and a fine of up to $10,000.
If the value of the property stolen is $30,000 or more but less than $150,000, a person charged with theft can be convicted of a felony of the third degree, which is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from 2 to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
If the value of the property stolen is $150,000 or more but less than $300,000, a person charged with theft can be convicted of a felony of the second degree, which is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from 2 to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
If the value of the property stolen is $300,000 or more, a person charged with theft can be convicted of a felony of the first degree, which is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from 5 to 99 years or life and a fine up to $10,000.
Harris County Retail Theft Defense Attorney
At the Law Office of James Sullivan & Associates, we know what is at risk when our clients face shoplifting charges. Our job is to fight for your rights, freedom and future. Attorney James Sullivan has been fighting misdemeanor and felony charges at trial since 1994, and we will use our extensive experience to get you the best possible result.
Since 1994, James Sullivan has worked to get hundreds of serious criminal and juvenile cases dismissed, including many shoplifting cases.
James Sullivan graduated from Baylor University in 1990 with a degree in Journalism, the ideal degree for investigating, discovering and telling winning stories in court. In 1993, Sullivan graduated from South Texas College of Law, which is nationally recognized as the top law school for trial advocacy.
James Sullivan later graduated from Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyers College in Wyoming. Founded in 1994, it is the most selective and prestigious trial advocacy program in America. The methods taught at TLC are not taught anywhere else. The 1,150 graduates form an extremely unique community of the most accomplished trial lawyers in the United States.
Contact James Sullivan & Associates for a free initial consultation at (281) 546-6428 about your theft charges in Harris County and Fort Bend County.
Our Houston criminal lawyers defend clients charged with crimes in district courts and county criminal courts, including domestic violence (assault of a family member), drug possession or drug delivery, violent crimes, and juvenile delinquency.