Houston Shoplifting Lawyer

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Houston Shoplifting Attorney

At Greco Neyland, it is our job to help you address and overcome these long-term consequences of shoplifting. We provide the straightforward and strategic defense to shoplifting charges that ensure the prosecutors in Houston treat you fairly and respect your rights. It is this approach to shoplifting and other theft charges that have made Greco Neyland one of the top Houston Shoplifting Lawyer.

Accusations of shoplifting in a store or shop are embarrassing and confusing. Often suspicion of shoplifting results in removal from the store or leads to an altercation with store employees and security. However, there is a long-lasting impact on accusations of shoplifting in Houston – shoplifting can lead to serious criminal charges.

Houston Shoplifting Lawyer

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Most often, we think of shoplifting as concealing merchandise in a store to avoid paying for the goods. For example, you are in a department store and decide to put a shirt or hat in your bag and leave without paying. However, there are a number of actions that amount to shoplifting in Houston, including:

  • Returning merchandise that you never purchased to receive cash;
  • Swapping the price tags on a costly item for an inexpensive one;
  • Wearing goods to pass them off as your own property; and
  • As a sales clerk, under-ringing or failing to ring-up a piece of merchandise.

A shoplifting lawyer in Houston will handle all types and circumstances of shoplifting. However, your defense shouldn’t be one-size-fits-all. A Houston criminal lawyer at Greco Neyland understands the need for personalized assessment of your shoplifting case and detailed analysis of the evidence. We then craft a better defense to shoplifting on the individual facts.

What Do the Texas Laws Say About Shoplifting in Houston?

In Houston, acts of shoplifting are a type of theft. If you are accused of shoplifting from a grocery store, boutique, or even an online business, you are charged with the more general crime of theft under Texas law. The severity of these theft charges is based upon the total value of the property you are accused of shoplifting.

The Texas law applicable to Houston and Harris County breaks down theft offenses by the fair market value of the property stolen. As the value increases, so does the possible criminal punishment. However, even if you are charged with a minor shoplifting offense, you should hire legal counsel for your defense.

A Houston criminal lawyer can help lessen the potential punishment or decrease the severity of charges to keep your criminal record clear of these offenses.

  • Class C misdemeanor: theft of property valued at $100 or less, which is punishable by a maximum fine of $500
  • Class B misdemeanor: theft of property valued between $100 and $750, which is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of $2,000
  • Class A misdemeanor: theft of property valued between $750 and $2,500, which is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of $4,000
  • State jail felony: theft of property valued between $2,500 and $30,000, which is punishable by up to two years in county jail and a fine of $10,000
  • Felony in the third degree: theft of property between $30,000 and $150,000, which is punishable by 10 years in prison and a fine of $10,000
  • Felony in the second degree: theft of property between $150,000 and $300,000, which is punishable by 20 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
  • Felony in the first degree: theft of property over $300,000, which is punishable by 99 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.

Theft/Shoplifting Classification Table:

Theft Amount Category Punishment Range Fine Amount
Less than $50.00 Class C Misdemeanor No Jail Time Up to $500.00
$50.00 – $499.99 Class B Misdemeanor Up to 180 days in the County Jail Up to $2,000.00
$500.00-$1,499.99 Class A Misdemeanor Up to 1 year in the County Jail Up to $4,000.00
$1,500-$19,999.99 State Jail Felony 6 months to 2 years in a State Jail Facility Up to $10,000.00
$20,000.00 – $99,999.99 3rd Degree Felony 2 to 10 years in Prison (TDC) Up to $10,000.00
$100,000.00 – $199,999.99 2nd Degree Felony 2 to 20 years in Prison (TDC) Up to $10,000.00
Greater than $200,000.00 1st Degree Felony 5 to LIFE in Prison (TDC) Up to $10,000.00

Shoplifting Cases

The most common theft cases are shoplifting cases. These typically involve a loss-prevention officer, or LPO, and a surveillance tape. Most shoplifting cases are caught on tape and often times the suspect is caught red-handed with the merchandise in their possession.

A common misconception that a lot of theft defendants have is that they claim to have not left the store yet when they were apprehended. As such, they have not committed theft, since they did not leave the store. This is incorrect.

In the State of Texas, once you passed all points of pay, you are deemed to have committed theft. It does not matter if you are still inside the store. Once you pass the point where you can pay for the items, you are committing theft.

In addition to this, the law defines theft as the “intent” to deprive the owner of their property. You could thus be charged with theft the moment you secreted the item into your purse or pocket, even though you did not leave the store or attempt to leave the store yet.

Law Of Parties – What Exactly is this and why should I care?

In many theft cases, persons will be charged with theft, even though they did nothing wrong other than be present with a friend when the theft occurred. They are being charged with theft under Section 7.02 of the Texas penal code, which deals with criminal responsibility for the conduct of another.

In lay terms, if you knew or should have known that someone you were friends/associates with that was present with you was going to commit theft and you did not do anything to distance yourself from this offense (i.e., leave the store immediately before your friend stole anything), encourage the suspect to commit the offense, promote, or assist with the commission (act as a look-out person), or you fail to make a reasonable effort to prevent the commission of the offense, you are just as culpable as the suspect who took the item(s).

These cases are treated just like the person who stole the actual item. You need to be aware of this because you need to know that if you are present with a friend when they are committing, or about to commit a crime, you too, could be charged alongside them for the same offense.

Civil Demand Letters – What is Going On?

A few weeks after you have been arrested for theft, you may notice that you have received a letter in the mail from a law firm based in Florida, or some other state. This is true whether or not the items were recovered by loss prevention or not. The letter will indicate that according to Chapter 134 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code (CPRC), the Texas Theft Liability Act entitles them to demand monetary payment from you (usually $300.00 or so) and if you fail to remit payment, they can sue you in the County in which the alleged theft took place.

The million dollar question you have is, “Am I going to get sued if I do not pay?” The answer to that is NO. They send these letters to anyone and everyone who is charged. I have yet to see anyone actually sued. Keep the letters for your file, but do not EVER pay them anything.

Hiring a Houston Shoplifting Lawyer

Assistance during a criminal trial or hearing for shoplifting is important – and a Houston shoplifting lawyer does more than show up in court. Our Houston law firm’s focus is on:

  • Consistent communication with all clients;
  • Regular meetings and in-person conferences;
  • A strategic defense that is specific to your case;
  • A thorough collection of evidence and due diligence;
  • Individual legal services; and
  • A depth of knowledge about shoplifting and other theft offenses.

At Greco Neyland, we provide support, explanation, and advice through every step of shoplifting charges, to ensure your case has the best possible outcome. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.


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