Theft crimes, or crimes of property, are often placed on the backburner after an arrest since they often do not rise to the same punishment level as the more severe crimes against people. However, a shoplifting conviction can impact your life in years to come if you do not speak with an experienced shop lifting lawyer in Houston immediately after the arrest. You will be forced to include a shoplifting conviction on most job applications in the future, and a shoplifting conviction may be a felony charge if the amount of the item was high enough.
Shoplifting falls within the broad category of theft crimes within the Texas Penal Code. A theft occurs when a person “unlawfully appropriates property with the intent to deprive the owner of property.” The deprivation of property reaches an unlawful status of the property was taken without the owner’s consent. Many people think of shoplifting as a petty offense since it is often done without the store owner’s full knowledge. It can seem easy to slip an item into your back pocket at a busy retail station, and much different than the more serious theft crime of robbery. However, retail stores often have cameras linked up throughout the store and have employees who are skilled in pointing out potential shoplifters.
Our firm’s Houston shoplifting attorney, Mary E. Conn, has practiced since 1985, is admitted to practice in Texas, and can effectively defend you against a full range of shoplifting charges in Houston.
The penalties and confinement lengths largely depend upon the worth of the object which was taken during the shoplifting. Prosecutors typically have discretion to reduce the sentences depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, especially when the case involves a first-time offense. However, this is not necessarily something to rely on. The theft penalty ranges listed in the Texas Penal Code include the following:
|Item Worth||Misdemeanor Class or Felony Degree||Penalty|
|Less than $50||Class C Misdemeanor||$500 fine|
|Greater than $50, less than $500||Class B Misdemeanor||Up to 180 days in county jail and/or up to a $2,000 fine|
|Less than $50 and the defendant was previously convicted of a theft crime||Class B Misdemeanor||Up to 180 days in county jail and/or up to a $2,000 fine|
|Greater than $500 but less than $1,500||Class A Misdemeanor||Up to 1 year in county jail and up to a $4,000 fine|
|Greater than $1,500 but less than $20,000||State Jail Felony||180 days – 2 years in state jail and/or up to a $10,000 fine|
|Greater than $20,000 but less than $100,000||Third Degree Felony||2-10 years in prison and/or up to a $10,000 fine|
|Greater than $100,000 but less than $200,000||Second Degree Felony||2-20 years in prison and/or up to a $10,000 fine|
|Greater than $200,000||First Degree Felony||Life or 5-99 years in prison and/or up to a $10,000 fine|
While most shoplifting offenses typically fall within the Misdemeanor punishment range, a number of outside facts may impact your punishment range, including prior theft convictions. It is therefore important to consult an experienced Houston shoplifting attorney as soon as possible after the shoplifting arrest occurs. Failure to adequately defend your arrest in trial could lead to a conviction that could later lead to a felony arrest. Felony convictions carry with them a greater stigma than a misdemeanor stigma and have dire consequences on your life.
If you have been arrested on shoplifting charges, do not hesitate to contact Mary E. Conn Law. Mary E. Conn is an experienced shoplifting lawyer with years of experience in handling all types of theft cases, especially shoplifting. Do not allow a small shoplifting offense to impact your life because you did not seek legal counsel. Contact us today at our Houston, Texas office for your initial free consultation on (713) 357-4190.