Does Your Teenager Need an Attorney for Shoplifting Charges in Texas?

It is not uncommon for teens to test their boundaries and disobey the rules, but when that tendency leads to shoplifting, it can mean bad things for their future. Depending on the value of the goods stolen and your child’s age, your teen may face serious consequences, including time in a juvenile detention facility, fines, and more. If your juvenile was caught shoplifting in Dallas, protect his or her future and retain the help of an aggressive Dallas criminal defense lawyer. At Udeshi Clark and Associates, we can build a solid defense against the shoplifting charges and, at the very least, work to keep your child out of jail.

Juveniles can be Tried as Adults in Texas

Despite the state’s attempts to raise the age at which a teen can be tried as an adult, Texas’s Senate turned down the Raise the Age bill, which would have raised the age from 17 to 18, in May of 2017, just a few months after the bill was approved by the House in April. This means that courts can use their discretion to determine which juveniles should be tried as adults. In some cases, the offenders are just 16 years old. This is an important fact to keep in mind when hiring a defense team to protect your child.

Consequences of Shoplifting in Texas

For many teens, shoplifting charges result in nothing more than a slap on the wrist and a few hours of community service. In those instances, they may be asked to repay the shop owner for what was taken, but the punishment generally ends there. For other more serious instances of theft, however, the charges can result in anything from a Class C misdemeanor to a second degree felony. Both misdemeanors and felonies result in jail or prison time, fines, probation, and a permanent criminal record. If your child is 16 or older, this is something to think about. To better understand what type of punishment your child faces, consider the following:

  • Theft is a Class C misdemeanor when the value of the property stolen is less than $100;
  • Theft is a Class B misdemeanor when the value of the property stolen is worth more than $100 but less than $750;
  • Theft is a Class A misdemeanor when the value of the property stolen is between $750 and $2,500;
  • Theft is a state jail felony when the value of the property stolen is worth more than $2,500 but less than $30,000;
  • Theft is a felony of the third degree when the value of the property stolen is worth more than $30,000 but less than $150,000; and
  • Theft is a felony of the second degree when the value of the property stolen is worth more than $150,000 but less than $300,000.

Shoplifting is covered under Sec. 31.03 of the Texas Penal Code. A Class C misdemeanor conviction is the only conviction that does not come with possible jail time. A Class B misdemeanor carries a possible jail sentence of up to 180 days, while a Class A misdemeanor carries a possible jail sentence of up to one year. All three come with a fine. All felonies come with the threat of prison time.

Let an Aggressive Dallas Shoplifting Lawyer Defend Your Loved One

In the best-case scenario, your teen will get a slap on the wrist for his or her offense. In the worst-case, he or she may be tried as an adult and convicted of a felony. The Dallas shoplifting attorneys at Udeshi Clark and Associates can not only make sure that your teen is tried as a juvenile, but also, that the worst of the possible punishment is avoided. Call our office today to schedule your initial consultation.