Most people don't know that a charge of shoplifting can be a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the value of the goods taken from the store. If you or a loved one has been charged with shoplifting then it is important to understand the laws surrounding the charge, where they can be found, and to have a qualified attorney working on your case. Call Chad Zubi for a free and confidential consultation.
Laws on Shoplifting in Texas
The state of Texas considers shoplifting to be a form of theft and the laws regarding the crime are found in Title 7, Chapter 31 of the Texas Penal Code. In general, theft is committed when a person "unlawfully takes or appropriates property with the intent to deprive the true owner of that property." If you have the owner's consent then you may not have committed theft, also, if you accept or take something and you know is stolen then you can be liable for theft. There are various other examples of theft like changing price tags at a store to pay a lower price, writing a bad check, or simply taking something from a store without paying for it. There is no such thing as a five finger discount.
Punishments for Shoplifting in Texas
The punishment for shoplifting in Texas can vary dramatically depending on the value of the goods taken and if the crime charged is a felony or misdemeanor. The punishment can vary from a class C misdemeanor (when the value of the goods taken were under $50) punishable by a fine of up to $500 all the way up to a first degree felony (when the goods taken were valued over $200,000) which carries a punishment of up to $10,000 in fines and 5-99 years in jail. If you are a minor then your parent or guardian could also be liable for significant monetary damages and if you are an adult then you could also be liable yourself for expensive monetary damages. It is important to consult with a criminal defense attorney to assess what exactly you are facing in your specific case and to try to minimize any consequences.
Handling the Charges in Your Shoplifting Case
If you or a loved one has been charged with shoplifting then it is important to understand any legal defenses to the crime that you may have. A dismissal or a lower charge may be obtainable with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney like Chad Zubi. The ultimate goal is dismissal, but Chad Zubi may also be able to get the charges reduced, helping to avoid jail time, by working out a plea bargain with the prosecutor. A plea bargain is when in exchange for a plea of guilty to a lesser charge, the prosecutor lowers the charge or punishment. This is beneficial to the prosecutor because there will be no need for a trial. Each case is unique so call today for your free case evaluation. It is possible that some cases will go to trial and the best strategy for that depends on the specific facts of the case.
Dismissal is sometimes a possibility if you qualify for a pretrial diversion program offered in some counties. Pretrial diversion programs are designed for first time offenders of low level crimes and the offender has to complete certain requirements, such as counseling, or community service for a period of time and if all of the requirements are met then the case will be dismissed. Pretrial diversion programs can also lead to a person being able to have the offense expunged from their criminal record. Expungement is when a criminal charge is completely taken off a person's criminal record and this can be very valuable in future job searches or educational opportunities where the job or opportunity requires a criminal background check. To find out if you qualify for a pretrial diversion program contact the Law Office of Chad Zubi to set up a free and confidential consultation.
You can see that it is important to have a qualified criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the law and criminal procedure to handle your shoplifting case. Don't delay, getting a criminal defense attorney is one of the smartest things you can do to help yourself get your life back.