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Shoplifting Charges

Houston Shoplifting Charges Attorney – Shahin Zamir

Shoplifting may not sound like an especially serious crime. However, this is simply not the case. Every year, retailers across the country lose millions of dollars of merchandise to theft crimes. Although a single incident of shoplifting may only cost the store owner a few dollars, many thefts repeated over time can incur a vast amount of lost profits.

Call Shahin Zamir at 713-223-8900.

What is Shoplifting?

The definition of shoplifting in Texas is relatively straightforward. When a person enters a retail establishment and attempts to take an item of merchandise from the store without paying for it, that person may be charged with criminal shoplifting. Other forms of shoplifting include:

  • Paying for an item with a bad check
  • Stealing wallets or purses from store customers
  • Knowingly buying stolen merchandise from the person who stole it

Although some store owners will simply demand payment and ban the person from the store, most business owners and managers will contact law enforcement after apprehending the suspect. Stores equipped with security cameras can allow law enforcement to pursue an arrest even if the alleged shoplifter leaves the premises without being stopped.

What Are Some Legal Penalties for Shoplifting?

Shoplifting convictions are penalized in several ways. However, this type of criminal activity has a unique method for determining punishment. Although a judge will use his or her personal discretion in assigning a sentence, most penalties for shoplifting charges are directly related to the value of the stolen goods. Some shoplifting penalties are arranged below to give a representation of different penalty levels.

  • Theft of less than $50 or $20 by check: This crime is classified as a Class C misdemeanor that is punishable by a fine of up to $500.
  • Theft of $1500 or more but less than $20,000: This is a much more serious shoplifting charge. It is listed as a state jail felony that can carry a sentence of 180 days to two years in a state jail facility and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Enhanced penalties: Some shoplifting charges can be enhanced by factors such as the type of item stolen or the circumstances of the theft. For example, if a person has a previous theft conviction, a subsequent conviction will automatically increase the penalty level for the crime. Also, stealing items like guns or high-value industrial metals like copper and aluminum results in an automatic upgrade to a felony.

Call a Shoplifting Defense Attorney in Houston, TX

Hiring an experienced shoplifting attorney is the key to a good legal defense. The attorney can attempt to show that criminal intent was not properly established, or that there is insufficient evidence to prove that the defendant actually had the property in his or her possession.

Call Houston defense lawyer Shahin Zamir at 713-223-8900 to learn more.