After the holiday season, many stores offer sales and discounts on merchandise
to make way for newer products. With such great deals, the stores are
often flooded with consumers looking to get the most for the leftover
holiday shopping money. However, as stores get more busy and crowded,
shoplifting incidents often increase. Even with next-to-nothing prices,
taking any item without paying is still considered shoplifting.
When is a theft crime considered shoplifting?
Theft can be defined in a few ways, including robbery, grand theft auto,
and shoplifting. Especially after the holidays, shoplifting is known to
be one of the most common forms of theft. Shoplifting occurs when an individual
remove items from a store without paying, switches price tags to get a
better deal, or returns a stolen item in attempt to get money.
However, there may be times when individuals are wrongly accused of shoplifting
in the holiday sale rush. In these instances, defenses can be employed.
Common defenses to shoplifting include:
- Proving the items were never taken out of the store
- Consent from the store owner to leave with the item
- Not being in possession of the item
- Lack of intent to deprive the store of merchandise
- Showing a receipt of payment for the items
Anyone that shoplifts from a store can find themselves punished based on
the value of the items taken. Punishments can range from a small fine
to significant time in prison. Texas law considers stolen merchandise
valued at less than $1,500 to be a misdemeanor. Merchandise value of $1,500
to $20,000 is a state jail felony while anything over $20,000 is a felony
crime. If the accused has other shoplifting convictions on record, stole
firearms, or used tools to take merchandise, the penalties for the crime
are likely to increase. In addition, the store is able to sue the accused
for up to $1,000 in damages.
If you or a loved one are wondering what a shoplifting charge may mean
for your criminal record or need to start building a defense, contact
Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC.