Austin Theft & Shoplifting Lawyers
Helping You Defend Your Rights
Taking property belonging to another person without their consent or permission is a serious criminal offense under Texas law. Theft offenses are classified as misdemeanors or felonies depending upon the value of the property taken. Penalties for a conviction can include imprisonment and hefty fines, but the long-term consequences can be devastating.
A background check revealing a theft arrest or conviction may cause an employer to believe you are dishonest and untrustworthy. Representation by experienced and trusted Austin theft and shoplifting lawyers is essential to fight the penalties and consequences of an Austin conviction.
What is a Theft Offense?
Shoplifting is only one of several theft offenses under Texas Penal Code §31.03. The statute defines theft as appropriating property belonging to another party without their consent and with the intent of depriving them of it. The law is not limited only to physically taking something.
Concealing an item of merchandise and leaving a store without paying is the theft offense of shoplifting. You could also be charged with shoplifting by switching the price tag on a high-priced item with one indicating a lower price. Paying the lower price is a theft offense.
Penalties for Theft Offenses in Texas
A theft offense is either a felony or a misdemeanor depending upon the value of what is taken. The classification ranges from a class C misdemeanor for theft of property valued at less than $50 to a first-degree felony when the property value exceeds $200,000. Penalties range from a maximum fine of $500 for conviction of a C misdemeanor to a $10,000 fine and up to 99 years in prison for conviction on a first-degree felony.
How an Austin Theft Offense Lawyer Can Help
An accusation is not the same as a conviction. The prosecution must prove each element of a theft charge beyond a reasonable doubt for a conviction. Our Austin theft offense attorneys have extensive experience handling theft offenses as a Travis County prosecutor and criminal defense advocate. Our knowledge of defenses and pretrial diversion programs allows us to provide our clients with the opportunity to avoid the consequences of a conviction.