The penalties for shoplifting are the same as any other theft offense. Shoplifting may be treated as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the items stolen and whether or not you have any previous theft convictions.
The penalties for shoplifting and other theft offenses are outlined in Section 31.03. Under Texas law, convicted shoplifters may face the following:
I. Misdemeanor Offenses
There are three primary classes of misdemeanor theft offenses: Class A, Class B and Class C.
- Class A – A Class A misdemeanor is the most serious misdemeanor charge. Typically, you can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor for shoplifting if the stolen property is valued at more than $500 but less than $1,500. If convicted of a Class A misdemeanor, you may be sentenced to up to one year in county jail and be required to pay a $400 fine.
- Class B – If the stolen property in question is valued at more than $50 but less than $500, you may be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. A conviction for a Class B misdemeanor carries a jail sentence of up to 180 days and a $2,000 fine.
- Class C – The least serious misdemeanor offense, conviction for a Class C misdemeanor carries a $500 fine. This type of misdemeanor charge is typically reserved for cases involving theft of items value at less than $50.
II. Felony Offenses
Felony offenses are more serious in nature and accordingly, carry much stiffer penalties. Felony theft offenses are also categorized according to the value of the stolen property.
- First-Degree Felony – The most serious felony charge, a first-degree felony generally involves the theft of items valued at more than $200,000. Generally, shoplifting charges do not qualify as first-degree felonies. The penalty for a first-degree felony conviction is a prison term of between 5 and 99 years and a $10,000 fine.
- Second-Degree Felony – A second-degree felony typically involves theft of items valued at more than $100,000 but less than $200,000. A second-degree felony conviction carries a penalty of imprisonment for 2 to 20 years and a $10,000 fine.
- Third-Degree Felony – A third-degree felony charge is reserved for theft of items valued at more than $20,000 but less than $100,000. If convicted of a third-degree felony, you could receive between 2 and 10 years in state prison and have to pay a fine of up to $10,000.
- State Jail Felony – The least serious felony charge, a state jail felony involves the theft of items valued at more than $1,500 but less than $20,000. Shoplifting cases can be tried as state jail felonies if you have previous misdemeanor convictions for theft. The penalty for a state jail felony is 180 days to 2 years in state jail and a $10,000 fine.