How Does Texas Punish Shoplifting?

As a parent, the last thing you want to hear is that your child shoplifted from a local store. However, while you may have your own punishments ready for your child, you know the importance of avoiding criminal charges.

A criminal record can affect your child’s future. Employers that run background checks may not accept your child with a theft charge. So what kind of record can your child get with a shoplifting charge?

Level of misdemeanor charges

In Texas, shoplifting is generally considered a misdemeanor crime. But the value of the stolen property can determine the level of misdemeanor and the punishment behind it. The levels of misdemeanors include:

  • Class C – Courts will charge a Class C misdemeanor if the stolen property is less than $100. The court can fine up to $500 for a Class C.
  • Class B – For theft between $100 to $750, a Class B misdemeanor is charged. The punishment for a Class B can mean a fine up to $2,000 and up to 180 days in jail.
  • Class A – Class A misdemeanors are the highest level and are for theft of property between $750 and $2,500. A court can sentence up to a year of jailtime along with up to $4,000 in fines.

A charge of theft over $2,500 is a felony in Texas. Felonies carry harsher punishments and are also more difficult to expunge or seal than misdemeanors.

A criminal record can affect future opportunities

A theft charge on your child’s record can affect his or her future. While juvenile punishments can differ from the punishments for adults, your child can be sent to a juvenile detention facility. And if the charge stays on record, employers may deny your child a job.

If a court charges your child with shoplifting, be sure to talk with a lawyer. You may be able to reduce the charges or have them expunged or sealed.