Shoplifting is one of the most common types of theft crimes, particularly
around heavy shopping seasons like the holidays. In most cases, shoplifting
involves taking a small value of property from a retail establishment
without paying for it or knowingly paying an incorrect price. So long
as the value of the property stolen is below $1,500, the crime is classified
as a misdemeanor, which means you could face at most up to a year in prison
and a fine of not more than $4,000.
However, many people who are accused of shoplifting find themselves stressed
and unsure of what lies ahead. As Fort Worth criminal defense lawyers,
we can tell you preparation is one of the most important keys to a successful
resolution to your case. Here are a few things you can do when after your arrest.
Understanding Your Charges
The nature of your crime is going to depend entirely on the type and value
of the property stolen. For the purposes of this blog, let’s use
two sample crimes. The first: stealing roughly $40 worth of movies from
an electronics store, the second: stealing a $1,000 diamond ring from
For the movies theft, the good news is you may not even have to go to jail.
According to Texas law, any theft valued at $50 or less is considered
to be a Class C misdemeanor, which does not carry any jail time, just
a maximum fine of $500 as well as victim restitution.
For the jeweler theft, however, your charges will not be so lenient. This
type of theft is considered a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a jail
sentence of up to a year, and it’s highly likely that you’ll
serve at least part of that due to the nature of the item stolen.
Low-level first-time offenders, such as our movie thief, could be given
the opportunity to participate in a pre-trial diversion program. Essentially
these allow an offender to complete a term of probation, counseling, community
service, or other requirement in lieu of jail time, and once the program
is completed the charges are dropped as though they never happened. This
is the ideal outcome since nothing goes on your permanent criminal record.
Retain an Attorney
When you are facing shoplifting charges, it’s crucial you retain
legal representation to help you through the process. Before facing your
day in court, it’s strongly suggested you receive a free case evaluation
from Jerry Loftin & Associates to learn more about your available
options and obtain representation. An attorney can help you obtain options
such as a plea deal, which can help you receive a more favorable outcome
by simply agreeing to forego a full trial. An attorney can also help you
arrange for a pre-trial diversion, which can help you avoid having this
minor charge on your criminal record, which can have a serious negative
impact on your life going forward.
Attorneys Jerry and Trent Loftin of
Jerry Loftin & Associates are capable of standing by your side through any criminal charges, no
matter how big or small. We have handled more than 3,000 cases through
our more than 65 years of combined practice experience, and we are proud
of our substantial record of success. Trent Loftin has also been named
a top attorney in Fort Worth, which stands as a testament to his reputation
in the community.
Call Jerry Loftin & Associates today at 817.429.2000 for a
free consultation to begin reviewing your options if you have been arrested for shoplifting.