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When Is Theft or Shoplifting Charged as a Felony in Texas?

 Posted on April 03, 2023 in Criminal Defense

Fort Worth Criminal Defense LawyerThere are a variety of offenses that can result in criminal charges in Texas, and some of the most common cases involve accusations of theft. While some cases, such as those in which a person is accused of shoplifting, may seem to be minor, any criminal charge should be taken seriously, since a person may face severe fines, imprisonment, and a tarnished record. As a person accused of theft, your future, your career, and your personal life could all be at stake. Depending on the value of the goods or services that were allegedly stolen, Texas law may classify theft and shoplifting charges as felonies.

Felony Theft Charges

In Texas, criminal offenses may be classified as misdemeanors or felonies. A misdemeanor is considered to be a less serious crime that is punishable by up to one year of imprisonment, while a felony is a serious crime that is typically punishable by more than two years in prison. Texas law defines theft as the appropriation of someone else’s money or property without their consent and with the intent of depriving the owner of the ability to possess and use property that is rightfully theirs.

The degree of a theft offense is determined based on the value of the property that was allegedly stolen. In general, theft of property worth less than $2,500 is a misdemeanor. Theft of property valued between $2,500 and $30,000 is a state jail felony, and a person who is convicted may be sentenced to between 180 days and two years in state prison. State jail felony charges will also apply if a person is accused of stealing a firearm or taking property from a grave or a person's dead body.

Theft may be charged as a third-degree felony if the property that was allegedly stolen was valued between $30,000 and $150,000. A conviction for a third-degree felony may result in a sentence of two to 10 years. Third-degree felony charges may also apply if a person is accused of stealing a controlled substance with a value of up to $150,000 from a commercial building such as a pharmacy or medical office or from a vehicle owned or operated by a wholesale prescription drug distributor.

Second-degree felony charges may apply if a person is accused of stealing between $150,000 and $300,000, or if the theft involved an automated teller machine or money from an ATM. A second-degree felony conviction may result in a sentence of two to 20 years. Theft of more than $300,000 is a first-degree felony that may result in a sentence between five and 99 years.

The offense of "theft of services" may also apply in certain situations, including when a person fails to pay for services they received, including at a restaurant or hotel. Failure to return property that was rented from someone else may also result in criminal charges. The same types of felony charges will apply to other types of theft.

Texas law also defines the offense of "organized retail theft," which may apply if a person is accused of facilitating or profiting from shoplifting activity. That is, anyone who receives, conceals, sells, or disposes of items that were known to be stolen retail merchandise may face criminal charges. The same felony charges may apply based on the value of the items that were allegedly stolen. However, charges may be increased if a person organized or managed others who engaged in organized retail theft or if an offense involved the activation of a fire alarm or the disabling of theft detection devices.

Contact Our Tarrant County Theft Defense Lawyer

Theft and shoplifting are serious offenses that can result in severe consequences. If you have been arrested and charged with theft, retail theft, theft of services, or organized retail theft, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. At The Dameron Law Firm, our lawyer can help you explore your legal options and create a strong defense strategy to minimize the potential consequences you may face. Contact our Fort Worth theft charges defense attorney at 817-222-0624 to schedule a free consultation today.



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