Many people think that shoplifting is not really a serious crime. It seems fairly harmless. The truth is, though, it is not a harmless crime, and the state of Texas will not treat theft and property crimes of this or any other nature as such.

Shoplifting, by simplified definition, is taking merchandise from a place of business with the intent of robbing the store owner of its value. In order to be convicted on a shoplifting charge, prosecuting attorneys must prove that two key elements exist in the case. The first is that, the accused took possession of the merchandise. The second is that the accused had intent to leave the place of business without paying for the merchandise.

Penalties for shoplifting can range in severity. It all comes down to the value of the merchandise one is accused of stealing. Taking items of minor value can result in a misdemeanor charge; whereas, taking merchandise of a greater value may result in the filing of felony charges. Either can result in an accused individual being incarcerated and ordered to pay fines if he or she is ultimately convicted.

Being accused of shoplifting can greatly affect one’s personal and professional life, both now and in the future. Such charges are nothing to take lightly. With the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney, Texas residents who are facing charges for theft and property crimes can make informed decisions regarding their cases and take the steps deemed appropriate in order to help them achieve the best possible outcomes.

Source: FindLaw, “Shoplifting“, Accessed on Aug. 14, 2017