Shoplifting Lawyers in Fort Worth TX
Criminal Attorney for Shoplifting Charges
We don’t want a mistake to leave a mark on your record forever. You need a lawyer for shoplifting charges, and you need one that will put in the time and effort to keep your record clean. If you call our Fort Worth law office, we can meet with you today and start work as your shoplifting lawyer. Together, we will work on a strategy for putting your case behind you.
Typical Texas Shoplifting Case
Most shoplifting cases arise from a department store (e.g. Wal-Mart, Dillard’s). Often a “loss prevention officer” monitors people on surveillance video. Then if someone is suspected of shoplifting the store sends a worker to get closer. Occasionally, a suspected shoplifter will be stopped and questioned before attempting to leave the store. However, most often the “loss prevention” workers wait until the suspected shoplifter walks past all “points of sale.”
When someone is stopped for shoplifting they are usually taken to the security office. There everyone waits on police to arrive. Once police arrive usually an arrest is made and a “criminal trespass” warning is issued. During this process your rights may be violated, and those violations may have a huge impact (possible dismissal) on your case. This is something you need to discuss with your shoplifting lawyer.
First Time Shoplifting Cases
If someone is young and has not been in trouble before then they may qualify for a deferred prosecution program. These programs in Tarrant County allow a young shoplifter (first offender) to ultimately get the record expunged. This is extremely important, because a theft charge is considered a “crime of moral turpitude.” So, it can stay with you forever and keep you from getting jobs or getting into school. Unfortunately, there is no “rule” that says a first time offender gets off with a dismissal. Your shoplifting lawyer needs to discuss how you may get into these programs or what you should do if you cannot get into a first offender program.
Can you be charged with shoplifting if you didn’t steal anything?
Yes, you may be charged with shoplifting if you are with a person that steals something. You may have heard the term “accomplice” used on TV. In Texas, when one person is held responsible for the criminal conduct of another person this is usually under what is known as the “law of parties.”
The Law of Parties means Person A is criminally responsible for Person B if Person A encourages or helps Person B to commit a crime. The classic example of the “law of parties” at work is the get-away driver. Person A goes in to steal something while Person B waits with the car running. Both Person A and Person B are criminally responsible.
Do you need a lawyer for a misdemeanor shoplifting charge?
This is a lawyer’s website, so obviously the advice you get here is, “Yes, you need a lawyer.” Honestly, the real question isn’t whether you need to get a lawyer. The real question is, “How fast can you get a lawyer?” Shoplifting cases are theft charges. Theft is very serious. Also, Tarrant County has very strict deadlines related to the programs you can enroll in to get your shoplifting charge dismissed. Do not wait until your court date to get a shoplifting lawyer. Call us (or someone) today. We need to get started on your case.
Why choose Cofer Law as my shoplifting lawyer?
We love our clients. Our firm has two lawyers, Cody Cofer and Lauren Crisera. Mr. Cofer can be a little grumpy sometimes, but he is about getting the job done. From the second you meet Ms. Crisera, you will know her client’s mean everything to her. Often our clients become friends we have for years, and they send family and friends to us. If you have a shoplifting charge then we want you to come in and meet with us. We will do everything we can for you.
Shoplifting Laws in Texas
Is shoplifting considered theft?
Yes, in Texas we have most of our “theft” charges bundled into what is called a “consolidated statute.” Texas Penal Code § 31.03 contains most varieties of theft, and shoplifting fit into this law (statute). So, if you get convicted for “shoplifting” then your criminal history is going to say you have a conviction for theft. Shoplifting laws in Texas may be different than other states, so be sure to find resources and attorneys familiar the laws applicable to you and your case.
What can a store do if they suspect a person of shoplifting?
A store can stop and detain a suspect if they have “probable cause” – meaning they have seen the suspect take the merchandise, conceal it, move or modify the item and/or fail to pay for the item before leaving the store. The store may also demand the return of the merchandise, ban the suspected shoplifter from their store with a criminal trespass warning, and file a report with law enforcement to have the case prosecuted. There are also civil penalties for shoplifting. So, you may get a “demand letter” asking you pay the store money for shoplifting, even when the store received all of the property back.
Is shoplifting a misdemeanor or a felony?
Shoplifting laws in Texas say theft can either be a Misdemeanor or Felony depending on the circumstances. Read our page on Felony vs. Misdemeanor to lean more about the possible criminal levels of “shoplifting.”
Regardless of whether the charge is a misdemeanor or felony, you need to take your case seriously. Visit with a shoplifting lawyer, today. Finding an attorney for a misdemeanor theft case isn’t usually terribly expensive. Most criminal attorneys will arrange a payment plan with you.