Is It a Felony to Shoplift?

By Jeff Kennedy

The possible punishments for the crime of shoplifting, similar to drug crimes, depend on the quantity and value of the item being shoplifted. Generally speaking, the greater punishments for shoplifting correspond to greater values of stolen property or goods. Just exactly how much property must be stolen to elevate a crime from a misdemeanor charge to a felony is a matter for Texas statutes to determine. 

If you’re wondering whether it is a felony to shoplift, read on to discover under what circumstances the crime of shoplifting can be considered a felony. 

When Is Shoplifting a Felony?

As mentioned above, shoplifting can be considered a felony depending on the amount of property stolen. Essentially, once the value of the stolen property reaches a certain threshold, the crime will be tried as felony shoplifting, with all the penalties that such a charge may carry. 

For example, shoplifting an item with a value of less than $50 is considered a Class C misdemeanor, with a possible fine of up to $500. However, one possible variable here is prior convictions for shoplifting, which, if applicable, could see you being charged with a Class B misdemeanor and serving up to 180 days in jail. 

The shoplifting of property valued between $500 and $1,500 is considered a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to $4,000 in fines, as well as the possibility of a year in jail. When the value of the stolen property exceeds $1,500 or involves firearms, however, you’re now in state-jail felony territory. These felonies are punished by a maximum fine of $10,000 and at least 180 days in jail, up to two years. 

Shoplifting of any property valued higher than $20,000 could result in a felony conviction of the third, second, or first degree, depending on the ultimate value of the property. To reach first-degree status, the value must exceed $200,000, which is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and a sentence of five to ninety-nine years imprisonment. 

Common Defenses Against Shoplifting Charges 

When you’ve been arrested on shoplifting charges, it’s important to remember that you’re entitled to a legal defense. A solid legal defense could rest on a combination of the following arguments: 

  • You’re the actual owner of the stolen property
  • You’ve been misidentified, and someone else is actually responsible
  • You didn’t mean to steal the property or had no intent to deprive the owner of their property
  • You paid or intended to pay for the property, but there was a mix-up

An experienced shoplifting lawyer can help you work on a robust legal defense strategy. 

Contact a Shoplifting Lawyer in Fort Worth

You’ve been accused of a crime, but the battle’s not over. At The Law Offices of Jeff C. Kennedy, we will work diligently to pursue justice in your name and get your life back. 

Call 817-605-1010 or fill out the form below to get in contact with a trusted Fort Worth shoplifting lawyer from our firm today.


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