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Texas shoplifting: Protecting your reputation and avoiding jail

On Behalf of | May 7, 2024 | Firm News

Shoplifting is a tempting but ultimately risky proposition. The immediate gratification of acquiring something for free can be overshadowed by the serious consequences that follow if you’re caught.

In the Lone Star State, shoplifting is treated as theft, and the penalties can range from a minor inconvenience to jail time and a criminal record. Should you find yourself in this situation, there are strategies you can use to minimize the fallout.

Understanding shoplifting laws

Texas categorizes shoplifting as theft. The charges and penalties depend on the value of the stolen goods:

  • Class C misdemeanor: Items valued at less than $100. This typically results in a fine of up to $500.
  • Class B misdemeanor: Items valued between $100 and $750. Fines can reach $2,000 with a possibility of up to 180 days in jail.
  • Class A misdemeanor: Items valued between $750 and $2,500. Fines can go as high as $4,000 with a potential jail time of 180 days.
  • State jail felony: Items valued between $2,500 and $30,000. This carries fines up to $10,000 and potential imprisonment in state jail for 180 days to two years.
  • Felony: Items exceeding $30,000 in value. Penalties include hefty fines and prison time ranging from two to ten years.

Beyond legal repercussions, shoplifting can significantly damage your reputation. The social stigma associated with shoplifting can be isolating and embarrassing.

Steps to take if caught shoplifting

If apprehended for shoplifting, stay calm and cooperate with store security. Arguing or resisting arrest can escalate the situation and could lead to additional charges. Also, remember not to admit guilt or provide any unnecessary information. Additionally, it’s crucial to have legal representation to help you through the legal process and potentially minimize the consequences.

You can discuss a plea bargain with your legal representative if you’re facing shoplifting charges. This way, you may plead guilty to a lesser shoplifting charge in exchange for a reduced sentence. Committing to programs like community service or pre-trial diversion can also help avoid a criminal record if you’re a first-time offender.

Shoplifting is a serious offense that can result in potentially life-altering consequences. It’s important to understand the potential legal consequences and their impact on your reputation. If you’re caught, remaining calm, cooperating with authorities and securing legal representation are crucial steps that you’ll want to take in order to benefit from the strongest chance of securing a favorable outcome to your circumstances.