According to Texas law, there is not a separate crime of shoplifting, it falls under the offense of theft. You do not have to technically even leave the store, just past all points of sale. Many times, people are stopped prior to reaching the door to leave. This often leads to people mistakenly being arrested for shoplifting when they were not actually planning on leaving the store yet. The punishment range for theft is determined by the value of the items allegedly taken.
Theft Punishments – As of September 1, 2015:
Theft Under $100 – Class C Misdemeanor – Up to a $500 fine
Theft $100-$750 – Class B Misdemeanor – Up to 6 months in Jail and up to a $2,000 fine
Theft $750-$2,500 – Class A Misdemeanor – Up to a year in Jail and up to a $4,000 fine
Theft $2,500-$30,000 – State Jail Felony – 6 months to 2 years in State Jail and up to a $10,000 fine
Theft $30,000-$150,000 – Third Degree Felony – 2 to 10 years in TDC and up to a $10,000 fine
Theft $150,000-$300,000 – Second Degree Felony – 2 to 20 years in TDC and up to a $10,000 fine
In addition to the possible punishment ranges associated with the charges, there are much more serious repercussions from being charged with theft. Theft is considered a crime of moral turpitude and many employers take a theft charge more seriously than having a DWI, drug charge, assault, and other charges on your record. This is because employee theft is a big problem for retailers. Having a theft charge on your record will keep you from being able to find a job, especially when the market is bad and there is a lot of competition for the same jobs. Many fast food chains and retailers will not hire you with a theft charge on your record.
Additionally, having a theft charge can keep you from finding an apartment. Many potential clients call our office to help them after they are denied for an apartment. Oftentimes, they have to settle for less desirable living arrangements in areas that aren’t very safe. Having a theft charge can also affect your credit rating, keeping you from being able to finance a home or car. If you are not a citizen, a theft charge may also keep you from becoming a naturalized citizen and cause you to be deported. Theft convictions can also be used to enhance minor theft charges that occur later on. I’ve had clients facing 2-10 years in the penitentiary for shoplifting an item valued at less than $20.00.
A simple mistake or lapse in judgement can have lifelong consequences. Everyone makes mistakes, but not everyone gets a second chance. If you are charged with theft, make sure you hire an attorney who will fight to keep it from going on your record. There are many ways we can beat theft charges even if they have video surveillance of you.
Our experienced staff has effectively represented countless people who have been accused of theft offenses and can provide you with an aggressive Houston Theft Attorney to represent you. Mr. Nguyen is always ready to present a vigorous defense against any felony or misdemeanor theft charge, including:
- Auto theft / Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle
- Grand larceny
- Employee theft
Theft Defense Attorney in Houston
Our staff understands that some people accused of theft are sometimes dealing with additional problems in their lives such as divorce, unemployment, substance abuse, or mental illness. Any of these circumstances can be considered as mitigating factors and can often be used to negotiate a reduced charge or sentence in exchange for treatment or counseling. In other situations, we will contact the complainant or witnesses to discuss restitution or alternative punishments in light of the personal situation of the accused. The staff at the Law Office of Henry K. Nguyen, P.C. will investigate any defenses that could result in your case being dismissed.
Facing Theft Charges in Houston?
The Law Office of Henry K. Nguyen, P.C. is an experienced Houston criminal defense firm that can protect your rights and preserve your reputation no matter what the evidence against you may be. Call us as soon as possible to start building your defense against any kind of theft related charge that you are up against. Whether you have been formally charged or still under investigation, the police and prosecutors are already building their case against you. We will start working with you immediately to begin protecting you with a Theft Attorney Houston. Oftentimes stores will recover the items, but will hire a civil firm to send you a letter demanding you pay for the items you took or a fine. They prey on your vulnerability and try to get you to pay thinking the criminal charge will go away. Do NOT pay anything until you have spoken with a criminal defense attorney that understands how to handle these cases.
Repairing the Damage
Those who have been accused of any type of theft require a criminal defense attorney in order to minimize the damage to their reputations. Attorney Henry K. Nguyen fights diligently for the rights of his clients, and he will aggressively defend those who are accused of shoplifting. Your best course of action is to remain silent during arrest and then seek advice from Mr. Nguyen.
For a free consultation, call the Law Office of Henry K. Nguyen, P.C. today at 713-222-1800.