Shoplifting is also known as inventory loss, and it is a serious problem for retailers – especially during the holidays. As a result, many retailers become more zealous around the holiday season (some may even become overly zealous). Understanding the basics related to shoplifting charges in Texas can help you be better prepared to cope with such charges.
Take Shoplifting Charges Seriously
If you are facing shoplifting charges – no matter how minor – it is important to take the matter seriously. The fact is that, even if the potential penalties seem insignificant, a criminal record can compromise your future employment, student loan, education, and housing opportunities. (Read more: What to Do If You Are Accused of Shoplifting)
Texas Shoplifting Charges
In the State of Texas, shoplifting is charged as theft, and the level of the charge and attendant penalties are based upon the value of the items allegedly taken. The values and attendant charges and penalties begin as follows:
- If you are charged with stealing something that is worth less than $50 in total, it is a Class C misdemeanor that is punishable with up to a $500 fine.(Learn more about the consequences of a misdemeanor)
- If you are charged with taking something that is worth $50 to $500 in total, it is a Class B misdemeanor that is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and with up to a $2,000 fine.
The charges and penalties go up from here. Further, aggravating factors can increase the severity of the charges brought. These factors can include tools for removing tags from merchandise and the theft of certain kinds of merchandise – such as firearms. (Are Shoplifting and Petty Theft the Same Thing?)
Just because you have been accused of shoplifting does not mean that you are guilty of shoplifting. To prove that you are guilty of the alleged crime, the prosecution must prove that you did all of the following:
- You were seen approaching the item in question.
- You handled the item.
- You concealed and/or carried away the item.
- You were watched continuously by store staff from the time you were witnessed approaching the item and the time you left the establishment without paying for it.
- You did not pay for or attempt to pay for the item.
- You were approached by a store representative after leaving the store.
In addition to proving the elements listed above, the prosecution must show that two elements of intent also apply – the intention of concealing or possessing an item that is for sale and the intention of permanently depriving the retailer of the item without paying for it in exchange. (Is It Criminal Intent or an Honest Mistake?)
Facing Shoplifting Charges? Contact an Experienced Lawyer Today!
If you are facing shoplifting charges, take them seriously and contact attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, today. Mr. Pritchard is an experienced Killeen criminal defense lawyer who will skillfully advocate for your rights while bringing your strongest defense. We are on your side, so please do not hesitate to contact us or call us at (254) 220-4225 for more information today.