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What to do if you are accused of shoplifting

What happens if a store employee stops you to make an accusation of shoplifting? Will you know what to do? Do you know how to avoid mishaps that could cause you trouble down the road?

On the surface, shoplifting does not appear to be as serious as other crimes. However, you need to understand that a conviction could change your life in many ways. This is why you must understand your legal rights and the steps to take if you are ever accused of this crime.

A DWI is costly in Texas: Here are the facts

Getting a DWI in Texas is a big deal. You've violated the law, and you're likely going to face penalties as a result. Without a strong defense, there's a chance you could end up in prison or facing penalties you don't deserve.

Anyone accused of a DWI has a right to an attorney and should use that right. DWI laws are harsh, and if a conviction goes through, it has the potential to damage your life in many ways. A DWI could result in a loss of a job, strain on your personal relationships, fines and other penalties.

Possession charges are very serious matters in Texas

Many people think that having drugs in your possession isn't a big deal unless you are carrying a large quantity of the drug. This is absolutely false in Texas. It doesn't matter what type of drug you are said to be in possession of, you need to understand a few basic points about possession charges.

There is one drug that is handled a bit differently from others in Texas. That drug is marijuana. Here are a few points to remember if you are facing drug possession charges:

Texas enacts limited medical marijuana laws

While several other states have made drastic alterations in their marijuana laws, including decriminalizing it and even legalizing it for recreational use, Texas has started making its own small changes. Unfortunately, the medical marijuana program that Texas has enacted is so narrow that there are widespread doubts about who will actually qualify.

At the moment, the only form of medical marijuana that the state allows is an oil extract so mild that there is very little chance of any of the approved users getting high. However, in order to get even this form of marijuana, people will have to grow the plant. To obtain a license as a grower, an individual or company has to pay almost $500,000. Furthermore, there are only eight doctors in the entire state who are participating in the program. You may be wondering who will qualify for this limited access. Patients that have a diagnosis of intractable epilepsy and have tried two other treatments are the only people who might be eligible for the marijuana oil extract.

Common types of harassment

"Harassment" is a broad term that the criminal justice system uses to describe various behaviors. Two common types of harassment are stalking and cyberstalking. Here in Texas, the two are very different offenses. You might have also heard the term "harassment" used to describe behavior in the workplace. There are certain kinds of harassment that results in criminal charges, while other types usually fall under the jurisdiction of the civil courts.

If someone accuses you of engaging in alarming behavior that terrorizes them or makes them fear for their personal safety, the Dallas police may charge you with criminal harassment. There are various forms and levels of harassment, and being aware of the differences can keep you from crossing any legal lines and getting arrested.

A larceny conviction in Texas can come with a harsh punishment

The penalties associated with theft in Texas can be very severe. However, like most criminal charges, the punishment you might face in case of a conviction will directly relate to the seriousness of the offense. For example, the penalties for shoplifting a pack of gum will be extremely different than those for stealing a Ferrari.

In general, theft occurs when an individual takes someone else's property without permission. A person might also commit theft by knowingly taking possession of property that another person previously stole. The following information describes some of the penalties you could face if the court convicts you of larceny in Texas.

Even a minor violation of probation could mean jail time

Facing criminal charges is frightening, especially if they are felony charges with the potential for a large jail sentence. For those accused of non-violent crimes and first time offenses, there is always potential for probation instead of jail, unless there is a mandatory minimum sentence for the crime.

Receiving probation is like getting a second chance. You are subject to supervision by specialized correctional officers, but you can remain outside of prison. Sometimes, however, things go wrong and someone who receives probation ends up violating the terms of probation. When that happens, the second chance could end abruptly. There is a very real potential for jail time after a probation violation.

Selling or giving away prescription drugs could ruin your future

There's a popular misconception that those who have prescriptions for controlled substances have the right to do what they want with those medications. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Controlled substances are carefully regulated by both the state of Texas and the federal government to protect the public. Those who receive a prescription for a controlled substance may only possess and use those medications in accordance with the directions of the prescribing physician.

Taking your sleep medication, pain pills or psychiatric medicine in an improper way to induce recreational results is against the law. It is also highly illegal to give away medications you do not need or to sell them to anyone else. Simply giving a single pill to a loved one to help with a migraine could result in serious criminal charges, especially if that person causes a car accident or commits a crime while under the influence of the medication.

Stalking: Criminal penalties are just the start of the damage

Getting accused of a crime like stalking is a serious thing to worry about. Penalties range from fines to time in prison, and the last thing you want is to face charges and penalties for something you didn't do.

Stalking is a malicious behavior, which means someone who isn't being malicious or who has no malicious intent shouldn't be found guilty of this crime. It's not a single event, so repeated encounters are necessary to prove that stalking took place.

Growing your own marijuana in Texas is a major legal risk

There are a lot of reasons why people in Texas might decide to grow marijuana. For many people, doing so may be the result of a serious medical condition. Cancer, epilepsy and even degenerative conditions like multiple sclerosis may respond to marijuana when standard medicine fails to help. Others may use marijuana to treat side effects associated with medical treatments, like anxiety, wasting disease or insomnia related to chemotherapy.

Some people may be drawn to marijuana cultivation as a means to build up a large amount of liquid capital. Because of its status as an illegal plant, marijuana can bring in more money per ounce than any other crop. There is ongoing demand for both medical and recreational marijuana, which can inspire some to try their hand at cultivation. Unfortunately, under Texas law, those who grow marijuana face very steep penalties.

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