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 Texas

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.

“Competent and Compassionate”

I found Jeff to be a competent and compassionate advocate. As a client, he was the “voice” that I needed him to be to achieve a good result. He allowed me to communicate my needs to him and then diligently went to work to attain them. I would recommend him without hesitation.

“I was given a fair and positive outcome.”

With the type circumstance I had, it was not a hard case nor one that required a court visit or in front of a Judge but it did take some research and many hours of information gathering. I was given to the point, fair and accurate information by Jeffery King and he stuck with me through the whole ordeal. This was not only vital but very personable and I appreciated that to the fullest. I felt comfortable and positive through the entire situation and was given a fair and positive outcome. I thank Jeff King and his other staff that were involved for all they did.

“Prepared, Aggressive & Passionate about the Defense”

As the father of a recent active duty Air Force client of Mr. King’s, and being intimately involved day to day with the case, I can say without hesitation nor mental reservation, Jeff King is a consummate professional. Jeff was not only prepared, aggressive, and passionate about the defense, he also made the time to explain in detail every facet of the trial as it progressed. Having an attorney of Jeff’s caliber in our corner bestowed a feeling of confidence to our family, which was a critical factor in our ability to manage the stressfulness inherent to such serious allegations. Jeff prepared the entire family for every scenario, good and bad, and for that we are forever grateful. Upon receipt of the not guilty verdict and celebrating the obvious joy we felt that this “created adventure” had now come to an end, also came the realization that not only had he won this case, and with it our son’s continued freedom and innocence, but we had made a friend of the highest regard. Our family cannot thank Mr. King enough for his excellent representation on behalf of our son, but also for the lofty amount of integrity and humility demonstrated during the most trying time of our lives. Much respect and Semper Fi.

“Jeff is the best!”

I thought my life was over when I was accused of a horrible crime at a general court-martial. From the moment I met Jeff, he instilled confidence in my case and showed a real enthusiasm for what he does. Be warned: Jeff will put you to work! He prepares for battle and expects you to contribute. He is confident in court and I enjoyed watching the jury respond to him. In the end, I was found NOT GUILTY to all charges! I am so grateful that I hired Jeff to defend me.

“Jeff sets the standard.”

Jeff was amazing! He handled my case through the end of the Article 32 hearing, and set the basis for my acquittal. If it had been any other IO than the one it was, I am certain it would have been dismissed right then, as all the objections he made in the Article 32 were later upheld by the Military Judge, and they been upheld at the Article 32 hearing, it would have been dismissed on the spot. His knowledge, and preparation made all the difference in my case, and his relentless pursuit of the truth showed through. He will always be my first recommendation to anyone who needs legal help.

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 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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