Texas does not have a separate shoplifting statute. Instead, shoplifting is criminalized under Title 7, Chapter 31, Theft, of the Texas Penal Code. Under Section 31.03, a person is guilty of “theft” if he or she takes someone else’s property without the owner’s consent and with the intention of permanently depriving the owner of their property. Shoplifting is perhaps one of the oldest crimes to exist. In the past, people got away with retail theft all the time, especially before security cameras were installed in virtually every store. Nowadays, stores are using security tags, security guards, loss prevention, and other sophisticated methods to capture thieves in their tracks, and while not everyone gets caught, many are arrested and charged with theft under the Texas Penal Code.
Misdemeanor and Felony Shoplifting Charges
The penalties for shoplifting or “theft” in Texas are fairly straightforward. Generally, the fines and sentencing for shoplifting depend on the value of the goods stolen.
- Shoplifting is a Class C misdemeanor if the property is worth less than $100.
- Shoplifting is a Class B misdemeanor if the stolen property is worth $100 to less than $750.
- Shoplifting is a Class A misdemeanor if the stolen property is worth $750 to less than $2,250.
- Shoplifting is a state jail felony if the stolen property is worth $2,250 to less than $30,000.
Usually, people don’t steal more than $750.00 worth of goods from a retail establishment, but anything’s possible, especially if someone stole something like a diamond ring, or another piece of jewelry from a jewelry store. Or, if the thief stole something of value from a high-end store. Often, the high-priced items are in fact very small, like a pair of $500 sunglasses. The higher the value, the higher the sentencing and penalties. For example, if a woman stole a $40,000 necklace from a jeweler, she would be slapped with third degree felony charges, punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison, and a possible fine up to $10,000.