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Theft/Shoplifting Boldly Defending Your Best Interests

Austin Theft Defense Lawyers

Shoplifting Attorneys in Central Texas

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.

Aggressive Defense Strategies for Theft in Texas

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 our theft crime lawyers in Austin, TX now for a free consultation at (512) 359-3743

You need a competent, qualified Austin theft 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 Lawyers

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 an Austin theft crime 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.

Theft Crime Penalties in Texas

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

AMOUNTCLASSIFICATIONPENALTY FOR THEFT
Less than $50, or less than $20 if by checkClass C misdemeanorFine of up to $500
$50 or more but less than $500, or $20 but less than $500 if by checkClass B misdemeanor

Up to 180 days in county jail

Fine of up to $2,000

$500 or more, but less than $1,500Class A misdemeanor

Up to 1 year in county jail

Fine of up to $4,000

$1,500 or more, but less than $20,000State jail felony

Between 180 days and 2 years in state jail

Up to $10,000 fine

$20,000 or more, but less than $100,000Third-degree felony

Between 2 and 10 years in prison

Fine of up to $10,000

$100,000 to $200,000Second-degree felony

Between 2 and 20 years in prison

Fine of up to $10,000

$200,000 or moreFirst-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 Austin theft 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. Let us fight for you.

The Importance Of Hiring a Lawyer When Accused of Theft

Hiring a lawyer when accused of shoplifting or theft is crucial for several reasons. A skilled theft defense attorney possesses a deep understanding of criminal law, enabling them to navigate complex legal processes and build a robust defense strategy tailored to the specific circumstances of your case. Also, a lawyer can assess the evidence against the accused, identifying any procedural errors, violations of rights, or weaknesses in the prosecution's case that could lead to a favorable outcome

Additionally, experienced criminal defense law firms are adept at negotiating with prosecutors to potentially secure reduced charges, penalties, or alternative resolutions. Having a lawyer provides legal support during a challenging time, ensuring that the accused understands their rights, options, and the potential consequences they may face, ultimately increasing the likelihood of achieving the optimal result.

Shoplifting Defenses in Texas 

In Texas, shoplifting is a form of theft and is considered a criminal offense. However, there are several defenses that can be used in a shoplifting case, depending on the specific circumstances. Some common defenses include:

  • Lack of Intent: One of the key elements of shoplifting is the intent to permanently deprive the owner of their property. If it can be shown that there was no intent to steal, such as mistakenly walking out of a store with unpaid items or forgetting to pay for an item, this defense may apply.
  • Mistake of Fact: If the defendant can demonstrate that they genuinely believed they had the right to take the item or that they were unaware that the item was not paid for, this defense may be used. For example, if there was confusion at the checkout counter or a misunderstanding about a store's policies, it could be argued that the defendant's actions were based on a mistake of fact.
  • Coerced Confession: If the defendant's confession was obtained under duress or coercion, it may be challenged as involuntary and not admissible in court.
  • Insufficient Evidence: If the prosecution cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the act of shoplifting, this defense may be used to challenge the evidence presented against them.
  • Entrapment: If the defendant can show that they were induced or coerced by law enforcement or store personnel to commit the crime, this defense may apply. Entrapment occurs when the defendant would not have committed the offense without the encouragement or inducement provided by law enforcement or store personnel.
  • Age: If the defendant is a minor, their age may be used as a defense. In some cases, minors may be subject to different legal standards or diversion programs aimed at rehabilitation rather than punishment.

It's important to note that each case is unique, and the effectiveness of these defenses will depend on the specific facts and evidence involved. If you are facing shoplifting charges in Texas, it's advisable to consult with a theft defense attorney who can evaluate your case and provide guidance on the best defense strategy for your situation.

Trust Our Austin Theft Crimes Attorneys

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 central 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. Call (512) 359-3743 now to speak with our Austin theft crimes lawyers.

Our Client Reviews

Earning Our Reputation by Protecting Yours
  • Smith and Vinson are absolutely incredible! They go above and beyond to help their clients and have a track record of success in getting cases dismissed. Their aggressive approach and unwavering dedication make them stand out from the rest.
    - Linda W.
  • What sets this firm apart is their unwavering dedication to their clients. They listen attentively, provide clear guidance, and approach every case with the utmost diligence. Their attention to detail is truly impressive, and they leave no stone unturned.
    - Former Client
  • When in battle you need people by your side who are fierce enough to face the opposition with you. Brad and Jarod far exceeded my expectations with their passion for winning and attention to detail.
    - Nikki C.
  • After the Jury was selected, the first witness was called to the stand, and Brad and Jarrod imploded the State's case. Moments later, the case was dismissed. I couldn't be any more thankful for Smith & Vinson.
    - Former Client

    A Proven Track Record

    Check Out Our Recent Case Results
    • Case Dismissed; Charges Reduced Felony DWI

      Our client was arrested for her fourth DWI with an alleged BAC of 0.168. The State aggressively prosecuted this case and sought prison time. We were able to work with the client on a mitigation strategy that resulted in the State agreeing to drop the felony and offer probation on a misdemeanor, keeping the client out of jail.

    • Charges Reduced Intoxication Assault Causing Serious Bodily Injury

      Our client was charged with 5 Felony Counts including Intoxication Assault causing Serious Bodily Injury after being involved in a vehicle/pedicab accident that injured 3 people, one with life-threatening injuries. The arresting agency obtained a blood search warrant from our client and he was facing 5 felony counts.

    • Charges Rejected Assault Bodily Injury Family Violence
    • Case Dismissed Theft

      Our client, a legal permanent resident, was charged with stealing clothing at Macy’s. The State offered our client an initial plea deal. However, due to her immigration status, we advised our client that it was in her best interest to fight this case the whole way.

    • Case Dismissed Aggravated Robbery

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