For Those Charged With a Crime
Regardless of the extent of a shoplifting charge, you cannot afford to take the charge lightly. This is especially true if you have prior theft convictions on your record. If you face a shoplifting charge, you need to work with an accomplished criminal defense lawyer that will provide legal assistance to help you avoid jail time. Texas licensed criminal defense attorney Adam Capetillo knows exactly how to assist clients that face the criminal charge of shoplifting.
Texas Penal Code 31.03
As the statute that defines theft in Texas, Penal Code 31.03 includes the criminal charge of what’s commonly known as shoplifting. As one of the most common types of theft, shoplifting is the act of taking a retailer’s property, without first paying for the property.
By property, we mean items that are available for immediate access to consumers, such as a can of mixed vegetables or a box of disposable razors. Texas law defines shoplifting to involve “unlawfully appropriates property with the intent to deprive the owner of the property.” The key to proving someone committed shoplifting is to establish a defendant intended to deprive the retail shop operator of the item allegedly stolen.
The punishment for committing a theft crime in Texas depends on the price of the item or items stolen. For example, theft involving merchandise valued more than $200,000 results in a first-degree felony conviction that carries a prison sentence running between five and 99 years. Most shoplifting convictions are considered misdemeanors, but that does not mean you can dismiss the seriousness of a shoplifting conviction. In Texas, a store owner has the right to sue someone who has been convicted of shoplifting in his or her store.
Possible Shoplifting Defenses Adam Capetillo Can Use
Shoplifting represents one of many criminal charges that the prosecution team has to prove “Beyond a reasonable doubt.” As the highest standard for proof in the American judicial system, “Beyond a reasonable doubt” means there must not be any doubt in the minds of the jurors as to the guilt of a defendant facing criminal charges. The most effective way to plant the seed of legal doubt involves presenting evidence that proves you are innocent of all charges.
There are several ways criminal defense lawyer Adam Capetillo can argue you are innocent of all shoplifting charges. First, Mr. Capetillo can prove you took an item by mistake. Think about the mistakes made by many consumers that check out items in a self-checkout lane. Sometimes, an item is accidentally not scanned and the store owner believes a customer shoplifted the item. We can also argue you did not intend to take an item and instead, you thought the item was a free sample. If you give us a receipt that proves you paid for the item in question, we will argue you are innocent because you purchased the item. Finally, you might be innocent because someone else took the item in question. We will request the security camera video footage around the time of the alleged shoplifting incident to prove your innocence.
Lack of a Search Warrant
What do prosecutors want more than anything else when it comes to proving a shoplifting charge? They want possession of the item allegedly shoplifted. Although some shoplifting cases unfold on the spot, the fact remains many shoplifting cases are the result of watching video surveillance of a store. This means law enforcement must go to the home of a shoplifting suspect to see if the item allegedly stolen is on-premise. Law enforcement must have a valid search warrant and if the agency does not have a valid search warrant, but enters a home anyway, the agency has violated the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
You might think a shoplifting charge is not a big deal, but you should think otherwise. A shoplifting charge can haunt you down the road by limiting your job options, as well as negatively impacting your personal relationships. If you face a shoplifting charge in Texas, you should be proactive by contacting an experienced criminal defense lawyer who specializes in litigating shoplifting case.
Schedule a free initial consultation with Adam Capetillo by submitting the convenient online form or by calling our law firm at (346) 249-5544.