Product loss due to theft costs Houston business owners millions each holiday season. To reduce their risks, they hire extra security staff and install additional surveillance technology. Because of that, the odds of being accused and arrested for shoplifting in Houston increase greatly during the holidays.
Whether you’re innocent or guilty, being arrested and charged with shoplifting during the holidays is a serious matter. In addition to the possible jail time and fines, being convicted of shoplifting in Houston can have a serious impact on your life. Having a Houston shoplifting rap on your record could make it difficult to get a job, find housing or attend school.
Penalties for Shoplifting in Houston
In Texas, shoplifting is considered to be theft — unlawfully appropriating property with intent to deprive the owner of that property. The penalties you face are related to the value of the property that was stolen. The more the merchandise was worth, the more severe the charges and penalties will be:
- Property valued at less than $100: Class C misdemeanor. If convicted, you can be fined up to $500. (NOTE: You could be charged with a Class B misdemeanor if you have a previous conviction for shoplifting.)
- Property valued at more than $100 but less than $750: Class B misdemeanor. If convicted, you could receive a fine of up to $2,000 and up to 180 days in jail time.
- Property valued at $750 or more but less than $2,500: Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, you could receive a fine of up to $4,000 and up to one year in jail time.
- Property valued at $2,500 or more but less than $30,000: State jail time felony. If convicted, you could receive a fine of up to $10,000 and between 180 days and two years in jail time.
- Property valued at $30,000 or more but less than $150,000: Third degree felony. If convicted you could receive a fine of up to $10,000 and between 2 and 10 years in jail time.
- Property valued at $150,000 or more but less than $300,000: Second degree felony. If convicted, you could receive a fine of up to $10,000 and between 2 and 20 years in jail time.
- Property valued at more than $300,000: First degree felony. If convicted, you could receive a fine of up to $10,000 and between 5 and 99 years’ imprisonment.
Houston Shoplifting Legal Defenses
If you’ve been arrested and charged with shoplifting in Houston, it’s important to get legal representation as soon as possible. Just because you’ve been charged with shoplifting in Houston doesn’t mean you’ll be found guilty.
There are many different legal defenses that can be applied in a shoplifting case:
- The defendant’s civil rights were violated during the arrest.
- The “stolen” item legally belonged to the defendant.
- The defendant thought the item was a free sample.
- The defendant pocketed the item with the intent to shoplift, but abandoned it before leaving the premises.
- Mistaken identity – somebody else actually committed the crime.
Depending on the circumstances, an experienced Houston shoplilfting attorney could get the charges against you reduced or even dismissed.
Lisa Shapiro Strauss Houston Shoplifting Defense Attorney
The only thing worse than being arrested with shoplifting during the holiday season is being found guilty of the crime and being ordered to pay hefty fines or sentenced to jail.
If you’ve been charged with shoplifting in Houston, leading criminal defense attorney Lisa Shapiro Strauss can help. A former county DA turned Houston criminal defense lawyer, Lisa Shapiro Strauss’ vast legal knowledge and skills could help you avoid jail time, hefty fines or having a shoplifting conviction on your permanent record. Don’t wait to contact the law offices of Lisa Shapiro Strauss to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your Houston shoplifting case.