Even though shoplifting may seem like a minor crime, there are serious penalties for being arrested and convicted. In fact, you may even face felony charges.
If you are arrested for shoplifting in Texas, you may wonder what to expect and what penalties may apply to your situation.
Understanding a shoplifting charge
Shoplifting is a type of theft and falls under this umbrella. Put simply, it means you have taken someone else’s property without their permission.
However, to be convicted of this charge, the prosecutor in your case must prove you intended to deprive the property owner of the item stolen permanently. For example, there’s a big difference between putting a laptop under your coat and sneaking out of a store and accidentally forgetting the jug of milk at the bottom of a shopping cart when you check out.
Penalties for shoplifting in Texas
If you are convicted of shoplifting in Texas, the consequences vary based on the value of the property you stole. Typically, though, consequences include fines, time in jail, or both.
You can be charged with anything from a misdemeanor to a felony for shoplifting. For example, if you steal property worth $100 or less, then it is considered a Class C misdemeanor and carries a maximum fine of $500. The most severe penalty for shoplifting is stealing property worth $300,000 or more, which carries first-degree felony charges. Your fine may be up to $10,000, and you may face five to 99 years behind bars.
Understanding the charges against you will help you know what to expect if you are arrested for shoplifting. This information can be helpful as you move forward with your case and inform your defense strategy.