The holiday season is upon us and with that comes an increase in shoplifting charges. Stores are more vigilant during the holidays. Plus, the pandemic has fewer people shopping in-person and retail businesses face tougher economic times. This combination means it’s more important and easier for businesses to be watchful and spot shoplifting.
What Classifies as Shoplifting?
Shoplifting in Texas falls under the category of a theft crime, defined as unlawfully taking someone’s property. Shoplifting usually applies to the unlawful taking of retail property. While most shoplifting charges are misdemeanors, depending on the value of the stolen property, a felony charge is possible.
Also, you don’t have to exit a store to receive a shoplifting charge. If you show intent to unlawfully take property, like putting an item under your shirt or in your bag, you can still receive a shoplifting charge. Many retail stores have cameras, making shoplifting easier for store owners to see, and harder for individuals to build a strong shoplifting defense.
How Does Shoplifting Differ from Robbery?
The main difference between shoplifting and robbery involves the use of violence or intimidation. With shoplifting, the act is covert with the intention to take an item without the owner’s consent and without any violence or intimidation. The act usually occurs in a retail store.
On the other hand, robbery usually involves violence or intimidation during the act of the crime. Also, robbery may occur anywhere, not just in a retail setting. A robbery can take place at any location and with any kind of property. For example, breaking into a home and unlawfully taking property isn’t shoplifting.
Plus, robbery usually carries higher charges and larger penalties than shoplifting. It’s important to hire an attorney experienced in theft crimes to ensure the charges you face match the offense.
Penalties for Shoplifting Crimes in Houston, Texas
Texas law determines the level of the shoplifting penalty based on the value of the property taken. For example, an item worth $50 or less is a Class C misdemeanor carrying a penalty of a $500 fine. On the other end of the spectrum, shoplifting items totaling $200,000 or greater is a First Degree felony with a penalty of up to life in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
As you can see, shoplifting has a broad range of penalties based on the value of items taken. Plus, depending on whether you have prior theft offenses, the sentence may vary. In Texas, the prosecutor usually can reduce the sentence. Once again, the strength of your defense matters for the result.
What is a Strong Defense Against a Shoplifting Charge?
Mary Conn Law Firm represents clients facing all types and levels of theft charges. You want a Houston shoplifting defense lawyer that understands Texas criminal law. We have proven results defending clients for shoplifting. A strong defense puts your interests first. We evaluate the evidence, review prior convictions, and consider the specific charges to build a defense strategy.
If you face a shoplifting charge in Houston, Texas, contact the Mary Conn Law Firm today. The quicker you seek legal help, the quicker we can get to work on your defense.