WHAT IS SHOPLIFTING?
According to the Legal Information Institute, “Shoplifting is generally defined as the unauthorized removal of merchandise from a store without paying for it, or intentionally paying less for an item than its sale price. However, shoplifting can include carrying, hiding, concealing, or otherwise manipulating merchandise with the intent of taking it or paying less for it.” In Texas, shoplifting is a property crime that falls under the category of theft. Under Texas Penal Code § 31.03, an individual can be charged with shoplifting if he or she intentionally and unlawfully takes goods or property from a retailer or merchant without consent or payment.
Do you want to learn more about shoplifting statistics across the nation? Check out the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention (NASP) website.
CONSEQUENCES OF SHOPLIFTING
All thefts, including shoplifting, are major crimes Shoplifting may seem like an innocuous crime, but the consequences are serious. It can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony; and the penalties are based on different factors, such as the value of the goods that were allegedly taken, whether force was used in the process, and any criminal history on record for the accused thief.
In Texas, the penalties or punishment for shoplifting usually depend on the value of the items that were allegedly taken and whether the defendant has any prior theft convictions. Under The Texas Penal Code, shoplifting offenses can be classified as either a misdemeanor or felony crime. If you are convicted of shoplifting, the charges will go on your criminal record and will have a huge negative impact on your life. Penalties can include lengthy jail time, significant fines, restitution, and possibly community service. In addition, the Texas Theft Liability Act allows victims of theft to sue the alleged shoplifter in civil court for other damages related to the crime.
You should secure the services of a reputable and experienced Austin shoplifting defense lawyer if you have been arrested and charged with that crime in Austin, Texas, or the surrounding area. Brian Erskine of Erskine Law is the attorney to call for the consideration and care you need. Mr. Erskine is a board-certified criminal defense attorney with over a decade of experience handling cases like yours; he is available to help you navigate the legal system to fight back against the theft charges that have been levied against you. Contact Erskine Law to discuss your case and to get advice about how to reach the best possible outcome.