Shoplifting is often thought of as an individual taking merchandise and leaving the store with it. However, shoplifting refers to various situations involving the taking of property without an owner’s consent. Shoplifting without leaving the store is possible in Texas and depends on the nature of the incident.
Defining ‘Shoplifting’ in Texas
Shoplifting is a theft crime under Texas law. When someone tends to permanently remove merchandise or property from the rightful owner’s possession without permission, it is considered theft.
When merchandise is stolen from a business, it is considered retail theft, or shoplifting. Penalties can be anything from a misdemeanor to a felony charge depending on the value of the items stolen. A shoplifting conviction is a misdemeanor if the value of the property stolen is under $1,500. Stolen property valued above $1,500 can result in a felony conviction.
Shoplifting Without Leaving the Store
Although it is not as easy to prove, it is possible to be charged and convicted with shoplifting when an individual did not leave the store. When a person takes merchandise and puts it in a backpack or purposefully conceals it before purchasing, the retailer can make a case that the person intended on stealing the item.
Defending an In-Store Shoplifting Charge
Most employees or security workers in a retail environment wait for a suspected shoplifter to leave the store with the stolen merchandise before apprehending them. It is easier to prove the individual was shoplifting if they leave the store with unpaid merchandise.
On the other hand, proving an individual intended to steal merchandise that they did not leave the store with can prove difficult. While security personnel are trained to detect shoplifters, they do make mistakes and may misinterpret a shopper’s actions to be shoplifting when no shoplifting was intended.
The Value of an Attorney
Any time you have been apprehended for or accused of shoplifting, it is important to have representation by a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. Whether or not you left a store with unpaid merchandise, you may be able to reduce charges, fines and penalties with the help of a lawyer.
Even if you are innocent, you should have representation from an attorney. If a store believes you stole merchandise or intended to steal merchandise, it is difficult to prove your innocence without the help of a legal professional who has experiences with these cases.
Never take a chance with a conviction on your record. It is worth it to have representation to keep your record as clean and safe as possible.
Seek an Experienced Shoplifting Attorney
With over 15 years of experience in criminal defense, Lisa Shapiro Strauss has the experience and knowledge to aggressively defend her clients and their rights. As a former prosecutor, she knows how to represent each of her clients in the best way possible. Call 713-449-9922 today or fill out the contact form on our website for a free consultation in your shoplifting case.