Theft / Shoplifting

Theft/Shoplifting

Theft / Shoplifting

Austin Theft and Shoplifting Lawyer

Austin Theft Lawyer

Getting accused of stealing can be can be an embarrassing ordeal. Depending on the value of the alleged loss, a theft charge can range anywhere from a Class C misdemeanor to a first-degree felony. The penalties can range anywhere from a simple fine to time in prison. The consequences of pleading guilty to a theft charge follow you for the rest of your life. Theft is a “crime of moral turpitude” and many potential employers, universities, and other agencies will require you to list it on an application.

Central Texas Theft Defense Lawyer

The State of Texas aggressively prosecutes theft cases. This is why you need to mount an aggressive defense. The State of Texas is working against you. You need someone working for you. We will work for you. Smith & Vinson Law Firm represents client’s accused of theft in Austin, Round Rock, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Leander, Taylor, Hutto and all around the Central Texas area. Contact us now for a free consultation at 512-368-9044

You need a competent, qualified criminal defense attorney on your side that can review the evidence and fight the State of Texas to keep a theft conviction off your record. In many situations, there can be a resolution that does not end with a conviction on your record. There may be diversion programs available that can avoid a conviction on your record. If there was a complaining witness, many times district attorney’s offices are more concerned about getting restitution back to them then the actual conviction on your record. There are many more options available than just pleading guilty to theft. Let Smith & Vinson Law Firm review your case and fight for you.

Austin Shoplifting Lawyer

If you are in a large chain retail store, such as Wal-Mart or Target, store security will detain you and question you before calling the police. While a shoplifting charge may seem minor, a theft conviction of any type can follow you for the rest of your life. It will show up on any routine background check and could ruin your chances at getting the job of your dreams or qualifying for that scholarship you need for school. Whether you are accused of stealing a $60,000 car or a $2 candy bar, a theft charge must be taken very seriously.

Types of Theft Crimes

There are many different types of theft crimes. Generally, the State of Texas will need to show two things before they can convict you of a theft crime: 1) that you had criminal intent, meaning you took the property with the intent to steal it, and 2) that you had possession of the property. Some of the more common theft crimes are:

  • Shoplifting
  • Writing bad checks
  • Check forgery
  • Credit card theft
  • Identity theft
  • Buying or accepting stolen property
  • Auto theft
  • Fraud or embezzlement
  • Burglary
  • Robbery

Each crime requires proof of different elements and has different defenses available. And, for each element of the charged offense, the State of Texas has the burden of proving them beyond a reasonable doubt. You are innocent until proven guilty. If you are facing theft charges you need a criminal defense attorney who understands these differences. Smith & Vinson Law Firm will fight for you. We will do everything we can to make sure a theft charge does not destroy your life.

Punishment

Theft crimes are punished based on the value of the property taken.

AMOUNT

CLASSIFICATION

PENALTY

Less than $50, or less than $20 if by check

Class C misdemeanor

Fine of up to $500

$50 or more but less than $500, or $20 but less than $500 if by check

Class B misdemeanor

Up to 180 days in county jail

Fine of up to $2,000

$500 or more, but less than $1,500

Class A misdemeanor

Up to 1 year in county jail

Fine of up to $4,000

$1,500 or more, but less than $20,000

State jail felony

Between 180 days and 2 years in state jail

Up to $10,000 fine

$20,000 or more, but less than $100,000

Third-degree felony

Between 2 and 10 years in prison

Fine of up to $10,000

$100,000 to $200,000

Second-degree felony

Between 2 and 20 years in prison

Fine of up to $10,000

$200,000 or more

First-degree felony

Between 5 and 99 years in prison

Fine of up to $10,000

What to Do If You Are Accused of Shoplifting in A Retail Store

Cooperate with security. In most cases, you will be confronted by either the retail security or a Loss Prevention Officer. Remain calm and do not try to flee. Most major retailers will call the police when they suspect shoplifting, and fleeing police or resisting arrest could lead to additional charges.

If questioned by store employees, request a witness. Request that either another employee or the store manager be present during questioning. Make sure you take down everyone’s name and job title.

Carefully read all paperwork before signing it. Store policy will require most places to write an incident report. If you are asked to sign it, make sure you read it thoroughly before you do so. Refuse to sign any document with incorrect or incomplete information.

Call Smith & Vinson Law Firm. Before you leave the store, the store manager will have likely called the police. If you have been arrested or given a citation and/or a court date, call us immediately for a free consultation. Jarrod Smith and Brad Vinson are aggressive criminal defense lawyers who are on call 24/7 to review your case.

Most major retail stores will prosecute shoplifters to the fullest extent of the law, regardless of the value of the property taken. Further, returning the items or paying restitution will not prevent charges from being filed. It is, therefore, imperative that you not attempt to handle a shoplifting or theft charge on your own. Call us immediately, so that we can begin interviewing witnesses, locating security camera footage, and reviewing the offense reports. Remember, the State of Texas must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you had the intent to steal. Many retail security staff detain suspects before they even attempt to leave the store and write incident reports that are one-sided and missing key factual details. Jarrod Smith and Brad Vinson can mount an aggressive defense and poke holes in the State’s evidence. Let us fight for you.

Austin Theft Crimes Attorney

If you have been arrested or charged with a theft offense in Austin, Travis County, Williamson County, Hays County, or any of the surrounding areas in Texas contact Smith & Vinson Law Firm.

At Smith & Vinson Law Firm, we take your theft charges seriously and fight to protect your constitutional rights. Jarrod Smith and Brad Vinson are aggressive trial lawyers that will fight for you from day one to get the best possible resolution for your case.

Contact our office today for a free initial consultation.

NOTE: This information is not legal advice. It is provided for educational use only. If you need legal advice regarding a criminal offense in the State of Texas, please contact Smith & Vinson Law Firm at 512-368-9044