Shoplifting Laws in Texas

We are used to thinking that shoplifting is the most petty offense. However, the consequences of thefts in Texas can be quite serious and leave a big black imprint on your biography. Shoplifting laws in Texas classify this offense from misdemeanor to felony. As for the penalty, the degree is set depending on the value of the stolen property, and the criminal history of the offender is taken into account, if there is one.

Texas shoplifting laws and their classification
The most common forms of theft in Texas are as follows:
·        Shoplifting. This crime involves taking goods out of the store with the intent to pay less or avoid paying for the item entirely. In addition to the usual theft, this crime includes tag substitution and payment for a lower price.
·        Common theft. The offender appropriates someone else's item in any way. It is also considered theft if a person discovered someone else's property and, without making efforts to find the owner, appropriated it for himself.
·        Bad checks. Pay for goods on a closed account or with insufficient amount to pay the check. According to the Texas law on shoplifting and theft, if a check is written on a closed account, this is the evidence of theft.
·        Acceptance of a stolen item. If you know that an item does not legally belong to a person, and you buy or accept this item from him, you are committing theft.
·        Other types of theft include embezzlement, and theft of non-physical items. For example, not paying for services.

Punishment for shoplifting in Texas
The offender is punished for theft according to the value of the stolen item. When we talk about shoplifting, low value items are most often stolen.
·         For theft of an item worth less than $ 50, the accused will pay a fine of less than $ 500 (C class misdemeanor)
·         For theft of an item worth more than $ 50 but less than $ 500, the accused will receive no more than 180 days in the county jail and / or pay a fine of no more than $ 2,000 (Class B misdemeanor)
·         For theft of an item worth more than $ 500 but less than $ 1,500, the accused will be sentenced to 1 year in the county jail and / or will pay a fine of no more than $ 4,000 (Class A misdemeanor)
·         For theft of an item worth between $ 1,500 and $ 20,000, the accused is liable for a felony. The offender receives a sentence of 180 days to 1 year in a state prison and / or a fine of up to $ 10,000 (felony)

Conditions for more serious punishments under Texas laws on shoplifting
The above penalties can be more severe under certain conditions. For example, if you have a theft conviction, the Class B and C theft charges are increased by one level. Accordingly,  Class A misdemeanor becomes a felony if you have two previous convictions. Under Texas laws on shoplifting, it is a felony to steal a gun regardless of its value. If you are caught with shoplifting devices, or charged with organized retail theft, the charges also become more serious. However, if you shoplifted for the first time on a low cost item and admitted guilty, you will likely only receive community service and / or fines.

Civil fines
In addition to criminal penalties, the accused also bears civil liability to the victim of theft. The store owner can receive a cash reward in the following amounts:
·        actual damage if the item was not returned in a salable condition
·        a civil fine of no more than $ 1000
If minors commit theft, different shoplifting laws in Texas are applied. A parent or legal guardian of a minor may also be civilly liable, but compensation is limited to actual damages with a limit of $ 5,000 and no civil penalty is provided.

What if you are accused of shoplifting?
Security detained you at the store with charges of theft. Most importantly, stay calm. Try to negotiate with a loss prevention detective. In case of questioning, it is advisable to ask for the presence of a witness. Many stores create an incident report. If you are asked to sign documents, be sure that you have fully studied it. In case of any kind of doubt, do not sign anything. Under Texas shoplifting laws, employees will contact the police. The latter will notify you of the date of the trial. Your main task now is to find an experienced lawyer.

Chain stores fight shoplifting
Shoplifters often make a mistake when rely on stealing small items at ease from large retail stores. Of course, if you are well prepared and use reliable equipment, for example, from Bombastershop, there is a high probability of being free with the loot. But be sure that if you get caught, these big sellers are ready to make you bear responsibility even for very cheap goods. In addition to criminal penalties, remember also civil penalties. Shop owners will not miss the chance to get their money back with the highest possible amount of compensated damages.
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