Posted on 11/25/19

If you are accused of shoplifting, the security personnel may threaten you with police action, criminal charges, or ask that you pay restitution for your actions. However, depending on your situation, their actions may not be legal. That is why it is important tocontact an attorney who can ensure your rights are protected.

Shoplifting in Texas

Shoplifting in Texas is considered theft under theTexas Penal Code. Theft is defined as one person taking the property of another person with the intent of depriving the other person of that property. A person may also be charged as a shoplifting accomplice in Texas for acting as a lookout for a shoplifter or creating distractions. Changing price tags also is considered shoplifting.

Based on the value of the items that were stolen, penalties may include a fine that ranges between $500 and $10,000 and up to 99 years behind bars. With such a wide range of penalties, it is important to understand the different classifications of theft that determine what your penalties may be.

Legality of Detainment and Searches

There is a legal concept calledshopkeeper’s privilege that allows the security guard or owner of a store to detain and search an individual. However, they have a legal obligation to ensure that their suspicions are reasonable, or they could be found guilty of false imprisonment.

In addition, although shopkeepers can conduct these searches, the manner in which they conduct them must be reasonable or they could be found liable for assault and battery if the search used too much force. The detainment period must also be reasonable. As a general rule, they can only detain the person until the police arrive.

Know Your Rights

If you are being detained and accused of shoplifting, your immediate actions may impact the outcome of your situation, so know your rights and keep the following in mind:

  • You have the right to remain silent – Even if you feel pressured to give information, you have the right to stay silent. Security personnel are figures of authority so it may seem natural to abide by their requests, but you do not have to give them verbal information.

  • You have the right to an attorney – Just as in other crimes, you have the right to request to see an attorney as soon as possible. A criminal defense attorney will be able to recognize any requests that are unlawful or any actions that infringe on your rights.

  • You do not have to make a statement – If you are asked to describe your actions or sign a document, you do not have to comply with this request without having your attorney present.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

The bottom line is that most people do not have the knowledge to understand their rights if they are being accused of such crimes. Security personnel and store owners will often use this against you to solicit incriminating information from you. If you have been detained and accused of shoplifting, contact the attorneys atAbel Law Firm today to ensure that your rights are protected. 

Flower Mound Office

Phone: 972.584.7837

Denton Office