The punishment range for shoplifting depends on the value of the items taken. If the value is less than $20, the offense is a Class C Misdemeanor. If the value is between $20 but less than $500 the offense is a Class B Misdemeanor and if the value is between $500 and less than $1,500 it is a Class A Misdemeanor. The punishment ranges go up from there.
Theft is a serious offense even if it is only a Class C Misdemeanor. Many criminal history reports will not show the level of the offense only that a person was convicted. Needless to say, theft does not look good on a criminal history.
Tickets Class B Misdemeanor Theft Charges
Texas law allows an officer to issue a ticket to someone instead of arresting them for the Class B Misdemeanor of theft. Even though the officer issues a ticket, if the value of the item taken is $20 or more and less than $500 it is still a Class B Misdemeanor and a serious matter. If you received a ticket in Travis County for a Class B Misdemeanor theft, you must report to Justice of the Peace, Precinct 5 by the date on your ticket. The judge will see you, sign a personal bond, and have you report to the bonding desk in the courthouse. At the bonding desk your fingerprints and picture will be taken. You will also be given a court date. This process can take half a day and will be very boring. Make sure you bring something to read.
Computer Theft, Identity Fraud, and other Cyber Crimes
These kinds of cases require a special knowledge about computer forensics and the technical aspects that these cases bring. It is often important to track down email addresses or another computer’s IP address. In the end, the punishment range for most computer crimes is still based on the dollar amount of damage done.
For first time offenders charged with smaller misdemeanors several counties have pretrial diversion programs that are easy to take advantage of and result in your case being dismissed. Once a theft case has been dismissed it is important to take the extra step of having it expunged from your record.