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Dallas Shoplifting Defense Attorney

Shoplifting is often viewed as a harmless petty crime without serious consequences. In Texas, shoplifting can result in jail time, fines, community service and, in some cases, civil litigation brought by the merchants who were stolen from. There is no question that shoplifting charges in Texas can have dire and long-lasting repercussions. In order to protect your legal rights, you need a qualified criminal defense attorney who specializes in property crimes and theft offenses in Texas.

Why call a shoplifting lawyer?

If you have been charged with a theft crime in the state of Texas, it’s in your best interest to retain a shoplifting lawyer as soon as possible. Attorney Jeff King leverages experience as a former felony prosecutor, and will take swift measures to evaluate the circumstances of your case, explain Texas shoplifting laws and outline the strongest defense strategies.


A criminal conviction for shoplifting can have negative impacts on many facets of your life, affecting your reputation, your future employment and your standing within the community. Don’t attempt to fight these charges without the benefit of an experienced shoplifting defense lawyer who can fight to have the charges reduced or the case dismissed.

Texas Shoplifting laws

Shoplifting is considered a theft crime under Texas Penal Code Section 31.03. The law defines theft as unlawfully appropriating property with intent to deprive the owner of the property. This illegal appropriation of property can include walking out of a retail establishment without paying for items, switching out price tags on merchandise to save money, or intentionally paying for merchandise by check on a closed or inactive account. All of these offenses are considered theft crimes in Texas and can land you in police custody.


Similar to many other states, Texas imposes shoplifting charges and penalties according to the value of the stolen merchandise, and in a few cases, by the type of property that is stolen.

Shoplifting charges and penalties in TX

The following is an overview of the criminal penalties and charges for theft crimes in Texas:

  • Theft of items valued at $50 or less – Class C Misdemeanor, punishable by up to $500 in fines
  • Theft of items valued at $50 – $500 – Class B Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/ or $2,000 in fines
  • Theft of items valued at $500 – $1,500 – Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in jail and/or $4,000 in fines
  • Theft of items valued at $1,500 – $20,000 – State Jail Felony, punishable by up to 2 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines
  • Theft of items valued at between $20,000 –$100,000 — Third Degree Felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines
  • Theft of items valued at between $100,000 – $200,000 – Second Degree Felony, punishable by up to 20 years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines
  • Theft of items valued at more than $200,000 – First Degree Felony, punishable by up to 99 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines


The above penalties are indicated for first time shoplifting offenders in Texas. If you have previous theft convictions on your record, these charges will be enhanced considerably. For example, if you have already been convicted of two theft crimes, a Class A misdemeanor automatically increases to a state jail felony. In the same vein, charges will be harsher if you are found trying to remove shoplifting prevention tags, or if you are caught working with other individuals to steal merchandise for profit.


Be advised that major retail chain outlets including Target, Wal Mart and Macy’s have historically prosecuted shoplifters to the fullest extent of the law, even in theft offenses of less than $10.


Whether you are facing charges for a Class A misdemeanor or a First Degree felony, Dallas attorney Jeff King will explore all avenues for resolution, including pretrial diversion programs and raising solid defenses.

Civil Liability for Shoplifting

A shoplifting conviction can lead to criminal charges and civil liability of up to $1,000. Under the Texas Theft Liability Act, merchants can sue for actual damages of the stolen property, in addition to up to $1,000 against an adult shoplifter. Parents of a minor who is convicted of shoplifting can be sued for monetary damages of up to $5,000. It is recommended to seek professional legal counsel about civil and criminal claims relating to shoplifting offenses.

Shoplifting Charges Call for a Criminal Defense Attorney

Shoplifting or any kind of theft charge requires the legal acumen of a skilled property crimes defense attorney. Learn how Jeff King can help you fight shoplifting charges in Texas by calling today for a free case evaluation. We’ve helped clients face and beat charges for a variety of theft crimes, and can help you formulate a plan that suits your unique circumstances.

Additional Shoplifting Resources:

  1. Texas Legislature, Penal Code TITLE 7. OFFENSES AGAINST PROPERTY
  2. Texas Attorney General, Penal Code Offenses
  3. Voice for the Defense, Enhancement of Punishment Under Texas Law, Part I
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4925 Greenville Ave.
Suite 200
Dallas, Texas 75206
T: 469-399-7001
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