Will I Go to Jail for Shoplifting in Texas?

Posted By The Sims Law Firm, PLLC || 31-Mar-2015

Most people view shoplifting as a petty theft crime. What they may not realize, however, is that this theft crime can carry serious and long-lasting legal consequences in the state of Texas. Depending on the value of the property that was stolen, as well as the number of times that you have been caught before, you could expect to face a minimum of $500 in fines for shoplifting—even if you stole something as small as a $5 bracelet.

Under the law, shoplifting is broadly defined as the act of deliberately and knowingly taking property without the owner’s consent. This could include walking out of a store without paying for the merchandise, altering price tags to pay less than the full retail price, or even writing a bad check to cover the expense. Each of these actions could land you in police custody. If you have already been arrested, contact our office immediately!

How Shoplifting Penalties are Decided in Texas

If you are arrested for shoplifting in Texas, the severity of the resulting penalties will depend on the value of the property that was allegedly stolen.

  • Valued at $50 or less: up to $500 in fines
  • Valued at $50 – $500: up to 180 days in jail / $2,000 in fines
  • Valued at $500 – $1,500: up to one year in jail / $4,000 in fines
  • Valued at $1,500 or more: up to two years in jail / $10,000 in fines

You could be charged with a Class B misdemeanor if you are accused of stealing property valued at $50 or less, but you have a prior theft conviction.

Adult Shoplifters Can Also Be Sued in Civil Court

In addition to paying the consequences of a criminal conviction, adult shoplifters can also be sued by the merchants in civil court. They would have the right to sue for actual damages, as well as additional damages up to $1,000. If the shoplifter was a child, but a parent or guardian had a duty to control them, the parent can be sued for up to $5,000.

You May Be Eligible for a Diversion Program

In some cases, low-level offenders are given the chance to participate in a pretrial diversion program. This would allow first-time shoplifters to complete a term of probation, counseling and/or community service in lieu of jail time. Once all of these requirements are met, the charges would be dropped, and it would be as if it never happened.

Wondering if you qualify for a diversion program? Contact The Sims Law Firm, PLLC to learn more about your options after a shoplifting arrest.

Let The Sims Law Firm, PLLC Protect Your Future

Have you been arrested for shoplifting in Fort Bend County? If so, you should waste no time in contacting the skilled criminal defense lawyer at The Sims Law Firm, PLLC. With experience as a former felony prosecutor, Attorney Sims knows what it takes to win a complicated theft crime case. Whether you are facing charges for a Class C misdemeanor or a state jail felony, we can provide the aggressive defense that you need.

Get started today by scheduling a free initial consultation with our firm. Time is of the essence when your future, freedom and reputation are on the line! What may seem like a “minor” theft crime conviction can have a serious impact on your future, so don’t wait to get the help that you need. The Sims Law Firm, PLLC is backed by a high level of client satisfaction and a track record of success. Call us now to get started!