Accusations of shoplifting or other retail theft can be embarrassing and often arise out of misunderstandings. However, being branded as a thief can haunt your personal and professional life for years. Penalties for retail theft can be very serious, but Chris Abel has a proven track record of helping his clients accused of retail theft win in court.


Retail theft and shoplifting fall under the broad definition of “theft” in Texas law. Found in Texas Penal Code Section 31.03, theft is defined as unlawfully appropriating property with the intent to deprive the owner of that property. In the case of retail theft, this applies if you are accused of unlawfully taking property from a store, retailer, or merchant with the intent to deprive them of their property.

Organized retail theft is considered a separate crime and is found in Section 31.16 of the Texas Penal Code. This type of theft is defined as intentionally conducting, promoting, or facilitating an activity where you receive, possess, conceal, store, barter, sell, or dispose of stolen property that is valued at $1,500 or more.


The Texas Penal Code penalizes theft according to the value of the property stolen. The consequences for retail theft are as follows:

Less than $50: Class C misdemeanor, fine up to $500

Between $50 and $500: Class B misdemeanor, up to 180 days in jail and/or fine up to $2,000

Between $500 and $1,500: Class A misdemeanor, up to one year in jail and/or fine up to $4,000

Between $1,500 and $20,000: State jail felony, between 180 days to two years in prison and/or fine up to $10,000

Between $20,000 and $100,000: Felony of the third degree, between two to 10 years in prison and/or fine up to $10,000

Between $100,000 and $200,000: Felony of the second degree, between two to 20 years in prison and/or fine up to $10,000

More than $200,000: Felony of the first degree, between five to 99 years in prison and/or fine up to $10,000

The punishments for organized retail theft are similar, although can be elevated to the next level of severity if you are accused of organizing, supervising, or managing others in the retail theft or intentionally activating an alarm to cause a distraction.


Pre-trial Diversion is a program that is available in theft cases where an accused person has never been in trouble with law enforcement before. It is a 12-24 month long program where upon successful completion by the participant, the case is dismissed and can be expunged immediately.


If you or someone that you know has been accused of retail theft in Denton County or Tarrant County, let Chris Abel fight for you in court. Call or contact the office today for a free and confidential consultation of your case.

Flower Mound Office

Phone: 972.584.7837

Denton Office