In Texas, shoplifting is punished as theft crime. Theft is defined as taking property unlawfully – without the owner’s consent and with an intention to deprive the owner.
The following are common examples of shoplifting:
- Taking items from stores without paying for them
- Altering price tags to avoid paying full price for merchandise
- Writing bad checks for merchandise
The penalties for shoplifting increase with the monetary value of the merchandise stolen and if the defendant has any prior theft offenses. Theft of property valued at less than $50 is considered a Class C misdemeanor, which is only a $500 fine. Theft of property valued between $50 and $500 is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum jail sentence of 180 days and a fine of up to $2,000. If the merchandise is between $500 and $1,500 is a Class A misdemeanor, resulting in a maximum jail sentence of one year and a fine of up to $4,000.
Additionally, adult shoplifters can be sued by the merchants they victimized for actual damages, in addition to damages up to $1,000. Parents or guardians who have a duty of control and discipline over a minor shoplifter can be sued for up to $5,000 in actual damages.
If you have been arrested or accused of shoplifting in Texas, seek experienced legal counsel with our College Station criminal defense attorney at The Law Office of Shane Phelps, P.C. Contact us and schedule a free consultation today.