Shoplifting, a form of theft, occurs when a person deliberately takes an item from a store with no intention of paying for it. This can take many forms, such as wearing a shirt underneath your existing clothes, switching tags from two items with varying prices, or simply putting an item into your bag and leaving the store. Other forms of theft include writing bad checks, general theft, buying/accepting stolen property, embezzlement, and theft of services.

Shoplifting can be classified as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the individual circumstances of the case. For example, the punishment of a criminal charge in Texas depends on the value of the item that was stolen. If you have recently been accused of shoplifting and would like to seek experienced legal representation for your case, contact Austin criminal lawyer Ian Inglis at (512) 472-1950 today.

Classifications and Penalties for Shoplifting

An individual charged with and found guilty of shoplifting may be sentenced to the following penalties:

  • If the value of the item is between $50 and $1,500, the crime is considered a misdemeanor and can include fines up to $4,000 and jail time for up to one year.
  • If the value of the item is between $1,500 and $200,000, it is considered a felony. Punishments can be up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
  • If the value of the item is over $200,000, it is a considered a first-degree felony. Those who are convicted can serve prison sentences up to 99 years and incur fines of $10,000.

In addition to the above penalties, prior convictions can make punishments harsher. Also, if the stolen item is a firearm or certain type of metal, the classification may automatically become a felony. Lastly, penalties can be stricter if you are found carrying certain tools to deflect theft prevention systems or if you are stealing for profit.

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Shoplifting is a serious crime with some potentially life-long consequences. The help of an experienced lawyer will help you present your case and may be able to reduce or eliminate the charges brought against you. Contact Austin criminal lawyer Ian Inglis at (512) 472-1950 for more information.

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