Shoplifting is a serious offense in Texas. A Fort Worth lawyer can fight these criminal charges to possibly get your sentence reduced or case dismissed.
Shoplifting is often thought of as a teen prank, but it’s actually a serious problem for some adults. Adults are now arrested more often for shoplifting than teenagers. Economic crimes are more common in times when people are stretched thin financially, such as after losing their jobs or suffering a health crisis.
However, being charged with shoplifting doesn’t have to mean the end of the world. A Fort Worth shoplifting lawyer wants to help you with your case.
Have You Been Falsely Accused of Shoplifting?
Major department stores are hot spots for shoplifting arrests because they’ve got security teams that are well-trained in spotting theft. It’s their job to stop people from stealing, and they typically do it well. Too well, sometimes, because they sometimes make mistakes or overreact in their pursuit of thieves.
That means you could be falsely accused of shoplifting when a security guard didn’t see what really happened or misinterpreted what they saw. An experienced lawyer will investigate the circumstances of your arrest to determine if there was a misunderstanding or if there is evidence that could disprove the charges against you.
In some cases, if you have a good lawyer representing you, the penalties you face can potentially be reduced. However, a shoplifting charge in Fort Worth may result in more than a proverbial slap on the wrist.
Shoplifting Penalties in Texas
Many people assume that shoplifting is a simple matter and only a minor crime for which the penalty is just a fine, some community service, or possibly a night in jail. But it turns out it’s not that simple at all.
If you’ve been charged with shoplifting, there’s a good chance you’re facing some intimidating legal terms and complex procedures. The good news is that the law is designed to help first-time offenders avoid a criminal record, and a good lawyer will know how to negotiate on your behalf.
The first thing to understand is that the specific charge you face depends on the value of what you allegedly took. The penalties for shoplifting crimes in the state of Texas are as follows:
- Items valued from $500 to $2,000: up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine
- Items valued from $750 to $2,500: up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine
- Items valued from $2,500 to $30,000: up to two years of incarceration and as much as $10,000 in fines
- Items valued from $150,000 to $300,000: up to 20 years of incarceration and as much as $10,000 in fines
What Happens if It’s Your First Shoplifting Offense?
First-time offenders can sometimes receive less severe punishment, with assistance from a lawyer who knows how to negotiate. These punishments include, but are not limited to:
- Jail time
- Community service
You may also have to take an education course on shoplifting, which could mean attending classes run by security professionals. You may have to reimburse the store for any damage done in the process of taking the item. There’s also a chance that you could be arrested and required to post bail before your arraignment. A lawyer who deals with theft and shoplifting cases should be your first call.
When you’re accused of shoplifting, first of all, don’t panic. It might seem like a crisis, but there is a lot to be done before you can even think about going to court for shoplifting. In fact, many charges never even make it that far because of the work that your lawyer can do beforehand.
If the police are involved, you’ll probably be charged and then released on your own recognizance until your arraignment date. This date is usually within a week or two of the arrest, so you’ll have time to get in touch with a lawyer.
Get Help Fighting Shoplifting Charges in Fort Worth
You’ve been charged with shoplifting, and now you’re facing the potential consequences of a conviction and a criminal record. It can be embarrassing and humiliating, especially when friends, neighbors, colleagues, and family know about it.
But don’t worry. There are ways a Fort Worth shoplifting lawyer can fight a shoplifting charge and win. Call Hoeller McLaughlin PLLC at 817-334-7900 or contact us via our online form below to discuss your case.