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SHOPLIFTING

 Shoplifting or theft may seem like a harmless crime, but the consequences of a shoplifting or theft conviction in Texas are serious and can haunt you for the rest of your life. Shoplifting can be classified as either a misdemeanor or felony. The distinction is loosely based on the value of what was allegedly taken, whether force was used, and the alleged offender's criminal history.

What is Shoplifting?

Shoplifting is generally defined as the theft of goods or property from a store, retailer or merchant. Theft is generally defined as the intentional and unlawful taking of another person's property without that person's consent. Retail theft or shoplifting generally occurs at large department stores or grocery stores.

Shoplifting is a theft charge that is considered a crime of "moral turpitude," meaning that it is a crime that reflects on one's character. A shoplifting arrest or theft conviction can seriously limit employment opportunities, as employers do not want to employ someone that they cannot trust or that may steal from their business. It is important to understand that even a ticket or citation for theft or shoplifting can carry the stigma of being labeled criminally dishonest.

Penalties for Shoplifting in Texas

In Texas, the penalties or punishment for shoplifting usually depend on the value of the items that were allegedly taken and whether the defendant has any prior theft convictions. Under The Texas Penal Code, shoplifting offenses can be classified as either a misdemeanor or felony crime.

Below is a basic guide of how the State of Texas categorizes the level of the shoplifting offense and the punishment you face if charged with retail theft.


 Shoplifting is considered a Class C Misdemeanor if the value of the property stolen is worth $50 or less. Class C Misdemeanor crimes are punishable by a fine up to $500.

Shoplifting is considered a Class B Misdemeanor if the value of the property stolen is more than $50 but less than $500. Class B Misdemeanor crimes are punishable by a fine up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine up to $2,000.

Shoplifting is considered a Class A Misdemeanor if the value of the property stolen is $500 or more but less than $1,500. Class A Misdemeanor crimes are punishable by a up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine up to $4,000.

Shoplifting is considered a State Jail Felony if the value of the property stolen is $1,500 or more but less than $20,000. A State Jail Felony is punishable by 180 days to 2 years in state jail and/or a fine up to $10,000.

Shoplifting is considered a Third Degree Felony if the value of the property stolen is $20,000 or more but less than $100,000. A Third Degree Felony is punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison and/or up to a fine up to $10,000.

Shoplifting is considered a Second Degree Felony if the value of the property stolen is $100,000 or more but less than $200,000. A Second Degree Felony is punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000.

​Shoplifting is considered a First Degree Felony if the value of the property stolen is more than $200,000. A First Degree Felony is punishable by 5 to 99 years in prison or life imprisonment and/or up to a fine up to $10,000.


 

If you are charged with shoplifting and accused of taking more than one item, the value all the items can be added together to determine the level of charge and penalties you face.

Texas Theft Law

 Theft: Penal Code Sec. 31.03 


 

(a) A person commits an offense if he unlawfully appropriates property with intent to deprive the owner of property.     

(b) Appropriation of property is unlawful if:

​     1.    it is without the owner's effective consent;

     2.    the property is stolen and the actor appropriates the property knowing it was stolen by another; or

     3.    property in the custody of any law enforcement agency was explicitly represented by any law enforcement agent to the actor as being stolen and the actor appropriates the property believing it was stolen by another.

  

San Antonio Retail Theft Offenses

Under Texas Penal Code  31.03, an individual can be charged with retail theft or shoplifting if they intentionally and unlawfully take the property from a store, retailer or merchant, with the intent to deprive the store or retailer of the property without their consent. In San Antonio, retail theft or shoplifting frequently occur at large department stores or merchants, such as Dillards, Macys, WalMart, Target, and Kohls. 

Unfortunately, many people believe that shoplifting or retail theft is a petty crime that they can handle themselves, especially if they are young or have no prior criminal history. This choice leaves a defendant vulnerable to life-altering consequences. Too often we see individuals that deeply regret their decision to represent themselves, as they unknowingly made a decision in their case that left them with a permanent criminal record. 

Civil Penalties

In addition to the criminal penalties such as fines, community service or jail time, the Texas Theft Liability Act allows anyone who is a victim of a theft offense to sue the alleged shoplifter for civil damages. According to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code  134.005, anyone who is a victim of a theft offense can recover the amount stolen, punitive damages up to $1,000, court costs and reasonable attorneys fees from the individual who allegedly committed a theft offense against them. If the accused shoplifter is a minor, Texas law allows the retailer to sue the minors parents in the amount of up to $5,000.

It is routine for department stores and large retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target, to send an accused shoplifter a demand letter for payment or threaten to sue the shoplifter for civil damages if they do not respond with the requested payment amount.

If you or a loved one have been arrested or charged with shoplifting in San Antonio, it is crucial that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect you against a lifetime of consequences. 

Having a shoplifting defense lawyer help you navigate through the process associated with your theft arrest can make an essential difference in the outcome of your case. To discuss your alleged theft crime in full detail, please contact The Law Office of Brent R. Hardy at (210) 415-6662.  

CREDIT CARD OR DEBIT CARD ABUSE

 Credit or Debit Card Abuse cases typically stem from allegations of stealing a credit or debit card, stealing credit or debit card numbers, using someone's credit or debit card without their permission or using someone else's credit card or debit card numbers without their permission. In addition, accepting a benefit from someone else using a stolen credit or debit card can lead to criminal charges.

In Texas, Credit card abuse or Debit Card Abuse is classified as a state jail felony which carries a punishment range of 180 days to 2 years in state jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Additionally, depending upon the circumstances, the credit or debit card abuse charge could be enhanced to a higher level felony. For example, if the defendant has prior convictions or if the victim was elderly, then the charge could be enhanced.

THEFT BY CHECK

 If you have been arrested or charged with theft by check, or what is commonly referred to as writing a "hot check," it is critical that you seek legal representation. Many people who are arrested or face criminal charges for theft by check are shocked to learn that misdemeanor or felony theft charges have been filed against them.

What is Theft by Check in Texas?

Under Texas Penal Code 31.06 it is theft for a person to take property from its owner by issuing or passing a check when that person knew or should have known that there were not sufficient funds on deposit with the bank for the payment in full of the check as well as all of the other checks that the person had outstanding at the time.

What is the Punishment in Texas for Theft by Check?

A theft by check case can be classified as either a misdemeanor or felony and the classification and punishment range is usually based on the amount of the check or the total amount of checks written. For example, if the total amount of the check or the total amount of checks written is more than $20 but less than $500, you could be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or up to a $2,000 fine.

However, if it is alleged that the total amount of the check or the total amount of all the checks written is $1,500 or more, you could be charged with a felony.

Texas Theft by Check Law

Texas Penal Code Section 32.41. Issuance of bad check.


 (a) A person commits an offense if he issues or passes a check or similar sight order for the payment of money knowing that the issuer does not have sufficient funds in or on deposit with the bank or other drawee for the payment in full of the check or order as well as all other checks or orders outstanding at the time of issuance.


Texas Penal Code Section 31.06.  Presumption for Theft by Check.


 (a) If the actor obtained property or secured performance of service by issuing or passing a check  or similar sight order for the payment of money, when the issuer did not have sufficient funds in or on deposit with the bank or other drawee for the payment in full of the check or order as well as all other checks or orders then outstanding, it is prima facie evidence of his intent to deprive the owner of property under Section 31.03 (Theft) including a drawee or third-party holder in due course who negotiated the check or to avoid payment for service under Section 31.04 (Theft of Service) (except in the case of a postdated check or order) if:


    (a) A person commits an offense if he issues or passes a check or similar sight order for the payment of money knowing that the issuer does not have sufficient funds in or on deposit with the bank or other drawee for the payment in full of the check or order as well as all other checks or orders outstanding at the time of issuance


.Texas Penal Code Section 31.06.  Presumption for Theft by Check.


 (a) If the actor obtained property or secured performance of service by issuing or passing a check  or similar sight order for the payment of money, when the issuer did not have sufficient funds in or on deposit with the bank or other drawee for the payment in full of the check or order as well as all other checks or orders then outstanding, it is prima facie evidence of his intent to deprive the owner of property under Section 31.03 (Theft) including a drawee or third-party holder in due course who negotiated the check or to avoid payment for service under Section 31.04 (Theft of Service) (except in the case of a postdated check or order) if:


      (a) A person commits an offense if he issues or passes a check or similar sight order for the payment of money knowing that the issuer does not have sufficient funds in or on deposit with the bank or other drawee for the payment in full of the check or order as well as all other checks or orders outstanding at the time of issuance.


 Texas Penal Code Section 31.06.  Presumption for Theft by Check.


      (a) If the actor obtained property or secured performance of service by issuing or passing a check  or similar sight order for the payment of money, when the issuer did not have sufficient funds in or on deposit with the bank or other drawee for the payment in full of the check or order as well as all other checks or orders then outstanding, it is prima facie evidence of his intent to deprive the owner of property under Section 31.03 (Theft) including a drawee or third-party holder in due course who negotiated the check or to avoid payment for service under Section 31.04 (Theft of Service) (except in the case of a postdated check or order) if:


      (a) A person commits an offense if he issues or passes a check or similar sight order for the payment of money knowing that the issuer does not have sufficient funds in or on deposit with the bank or other drawee for the payment in full of the check or order as well as all other checks or orders outstanding at the time of issuance.rson knew or should have known that there were not sufficient funds on deposit with the bank for the payment in full of the check as well as all of the other checks that the person had outstanding at the time.

What is the Punishment in Texas for Theft by Check?

A theft by check case can be classified as either a misdemeanor or felony and the classification and punishment range is usually based on the amount of the check or the total amount of checks written. For example, if the total amount of the check or the total amount of checks written is more than $20 but less than $500, you could be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or up to a $2,000 fine.

However, if it is alleged that the total amount of the check or the total amount of all the checks written is $1,500 or more, you could be charged with a felony.

Texas Theft by Check Law

Texas Penal Code Section 32.41. Issuance of bad check.

   (a) A person commits an offense if he issues or passes a check or similar sight order for the payment of money knowing that the issuer does not have sufficient funds in or on deposit with the bank or other drawee for the payment in full of the check or order as well as all other checks or orders outstanding at the time of issuance.


Texas Penal CodeSection 31.06.  Presumption for Theft by Check.


 If you have been arrested or charged with theft by check in South Texas or in Bexar County, contact a defense attorney who can help you fight the charges and keep your record clean. San Antonio criminal defense lawyer Brent Hardy is an experienced criminal lawyer who understands that charges for theft by check often result from a bounced check or simple misunderstanding. Brent Hardy can also work with you to help resolve a warrant for theft by check. Contact us at (210) 415-6662 for a confidential consultation. 

THEFT OF SERVICE

 In Texas, you can be criminally charged with theft of service if, with the intent to avoid payment, you obtain a service by means of threat or deception. Theft of service charges can also arise if you agree to make payment in exchange for a service, and then refuse to pay for the service once it's rendered. Another common situation in which individuals are charged with theft of service is when they rent something, and keep it beyond the agreed rental period.

Theft of Service Law in Texas:

Texas Penal Code Section 31.04: Theft of Services
Theft of Service Punishment in Texas

The penalties or punishment for theft of service is usually determined by the alleged value of the service rendered and whether the defendant has any prior theft convictions. Under Texas law, theft of service can be classified as either a misdemeanor or felony.

Below is a basic guide of how the State of Texas categorizes the level of the theft offense and the punishment you face if charged with theft of services.           1.  he intentionally or knowingly secures performance of the service by deception, threat, or false token;

       2.    having control over the disposition of services of another to which he is not entitled, he intentionally or knowingly diverts the other's services to his own benefit or to the benefit of another not entitled to them;

       3.    having control of personal property under a written rental agreement, he holds the property beyond the expiration of the rental period without the effective consent of the owner of the property, thereby depriving the owner of the property of its use in further rentals; or

       4.    he intentionally or knowingly secures the performance of the service by agreeing to provide compensation and, after the service is rendered, fails to make payment after receiving notice demanding payment.


 Theft of Service is considered a Class C Misdemeanor if the value of the services stolen is worth $20 or less. Class C Misdemeanor crimes are punishable by a fine up to $500.     

Theft of Service is considered a Class B Misdemeanor if the value of the services stolen is more than $50 but less than $500. Class B Misdemeanor crimes are punishable by a fine up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine up to $2,000.     

Theft of Service is considered a Class A Misdemeanor if the value of the services stolen is $500 or more but less than $1,500. Class A Misdemeanor crimes are punishable by a up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine up to $4,000.  

Theft of Service is considered a State Jail Felony if the value of the services stolen is $1,500 or more but less than $20,000. A State Jail Felony is punishable by 180 days to two years in state jail and/or a fine up to $10,000.     

​Theft of Service is considered a Third Degree Felony if the value of the services stolen is $20,000 or more but less than $100,000. A Third Degree Felony is punishable by two to 10 years in prison and/or up to a fine up to $10,000.     

Theft of Service is considered a Second Degree Felony if the value of the services stolen is $100,000 or more but less than $200,000. A Second Degree Felony is punishable by two to 20 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000.     

Theft of Service is considered a First Degree Felony if the value of the services stolen is more than $200,000. A First Degree Felony is punishable by five to 99 years in prison or life  imprisonment and/or up to a fine up to $10,000.


 If you have been charged with theft or service or any type of theft crime in South Texas, contact us at (210) 415-6662 to discuss your options. A good criminal defense attorney will work hard to protect your criminal record and advise you as to how best to proceed.