Anytime somebody takes something from a store without paying for it, they could face a shoplifting charge. Most people tend to think of shoplifting as a relatively minor offense. Others facing the charges may feel embarrassed. To spare themselves the further humiliation of a trial, they may consider accepting a deal and plead guilty quickly in an effort to make the charge go away.
As an experienced theft attorney could further explain, this is not always the wisest course of action. If you were arrested and are facing charges, you should meet with a Plano shoplifting lawyer to review the allegations against you and discuss your best legal options.
Explaining the Crime of Retail Theft
According to Texas Penal Code § 31.03, a person can face shoplifting or retail charges if they intentionally take something from a store without the retailer’s consent. However, shoplifting can involve more than just swiping items from the shelf of a grocery store. Under state law, the offense can also include altering price tags to lower the prices, changing the packaging of an item, or making a return of a previously stolen item to a store to receive cash back or store credit.
Retail store owners are particularly vigilant about protecting their stores from theft. They may jump to conclusions too hastily or make unfounded accusations against an individual. Under these circumstances, a dedicated attorney in Plano could defend someone against the harmful allegations of retail theft.
Possible Penalties for a Shoplifting Conviction in Plano
Retail theft can be either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on several factors.
Value of the Stolen Goods
The charges and penalties that a defendant faces upon conviction depend significantly on the value of the stolen items. If the theft involves more expensive items, the person facing the accusation could face felony charges, meaning more significant fines and longer jail sentences.
For instance, the theft of a small item valued at less than $50 might be a Class C misdemeanor, which would involve a fine of up to $500. On the other hand, if a person steals something worth more than $200,000, they could face a felony in the first degree, bringing a prison sentence of five to 99 years and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Previous Convictions of Retail Theft
The accused’s criminal record can also play a significant role in a person’s charges and penalties. If the individual has one or more prior convictions for theft, they may face more serious charges and punishments. For instance, if the defendant has at least two prior theft convictions, they could face a state jail felony even if the value of the stolen property is under $1500. This type of conviction could result in 180 days to two years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
An individual arrested for robbery should review their options with a skilled lawyer in Plano as soon as possible. Moving forward without legal counsel could be extremely detrimental to the individual’s case and future.
Reach out to a Plano Shoplifting Attorney Today
Shoplifting charges can bring heavy fines and a damaged reputation. If you are facing retail theft charges, you should work with a knowledgeable Plano shoplifting lawyer who knows the laws in the area and how to build a defense.
Our team could review the evidence against you and develop innovative strategies to defend and protect your interests. Call the firm today to schedule your initial consultation.