The state of Texas doesn't deal kindly with shoplifters. Even those accused of taking an item worth $20 could receive a $500 fine and up to a year in jail. First time offenders and those taking things that the court considers basic survival items, such as non-luxury food items, may receive more lenient sentencing. Overall, however, repeat offenders and those taking items for personal pleasure may face serious consequences for shoplifting in Texas. For those accused of shoplifting something worth $1,500 or more, the charges could increase from misdemeanor charges to felony theft charges.
Felony theft charges carry hefty punishments, including between 180 days and two years in jail and a fine of as much as $10,000. If you're facing felony theft charges over alleged shoplifting, you should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Felony theft charges can ruin your life
The official penalties attached to felony theft are serious. Between the finance-destroying fine and the potential for a jail sentence, felony theft can alter your life in drastic ways. However, when you finish paying that fine or serving your time, the impact of a felony conviction will continue to haunt you. It is hard to find gainful employment with a felony on your record. You may also have trouble finding rental properties or passing a background check by a potential community association. A felony conviction changes your relationship with your community, leaving you an outsider in many ways.
How an attorney can help if you're accused of shoplifting more than $1,500
For a crime to have been committed, you must have taken or hidden the item in question with the intent of stealing it from the store. Sometimes those who make simple mistakes, such as failing to remove a piece of jewelry after looking at it, could face felony theft charges despite criminal intent. Working with an experienced criminal defense attorney is your best hope of beating those unfair and potentially life-ruining felony theft charges.
An attorney can review the details of your arrest and charges and help you develop a plan for how to defend yourself against them when your court date comes.
Alternatively, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to obtain a plea deal to a misdemeanor offense. It's also possible, depending on the situation, for an attorney to attack evidence or the grounds of your arrest. When you face a judge or a prosecutor, an attorney acts as an advocate, asking for fair treatment and even leniency if your situation warrants it. Don't let felony theft charges ruin your life. Speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest.