Houston Shoplifting Charges Attorney
Shoplifting is a relatively common theft crime. However, the frequency of its occurrence, shoplifting is still a serious problem. In fact, these crimes occur so often that they cost manufacturers and retailers millions of dollars each year. When someone decides to take merchandise without paying for it, they may only cause the loss of a few dollars. If that action is repeated enough, or if the merchandise is very valuable, the losses can quickly add up. In an effort to mitigate the harm done by shoplifting, laws have been set in place to specify the consequences of the crime.
Probable Penalties for Stealing Merchandise
When dealing with merchandise theft cases, the value of the stolen goods is typically minor. However, as the value of the items increases, the penalties become more severe. Most shoplifting cases in Texas are punished with fines, but if the value of the stolen goods is high, then prison time is a possibility. Some of the penalties handed down include:
- A fine of up to $500. If the value of the stolen items is $50 or less, the guilty person can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor. The amount of the fine is affected by factors like previous criminal history or aggravating circumstances.
- A Class B misdemeanor conviction for a theft that is more than $50 but less than $500 can send a person to jail for up to 180 days. This conviction may also carry a $2,000 fine.
- Stealing goods that have a value of up to $20,000 can cause a state jail felony shoplifting conviction. This conviction can carry a sentence of up to two years in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
Defending Against Shoplifting Accusations
Even if a person has been charged with a minor theft, they would still benefit from qualified legal counsel. A shoplifting lawyer can provide advice on how to proceed with the charges or how to negotiate for a possible lesser sentence. He may also question the manner in which the person suspected of shoplifting was detained. The shoplifting attorney may try to show that there was no probable cause for the arrest.
Get Help From a Houston Shoplifting Lawyer
Although shoplifting may seem like an almost trivial activity, it can quickly become complicated when law enforcement gets involved. The best way to deal with theft charges is to become familiar with the law. A skilled attorney can help you do just that.
If you were arrested for shoplifting, call the Miller Law Group, PLLC at 713-866-6233 to get legal assistance.