In Texas a misdemeanor shoplifting offense can turn into a felony robbery case. How does this happen?
Shoplifting in Texas is when a person takes property without the owners consent. In a typical shoplifting case the person commits an offense when they take property from a retail business with paying for the merchandise. The degree of the offense is determined by the value of the property but typically the charge will be a misdemeanor.
This type of misdemeanor can become a felony if a person is injured during the course of the shoplifting. For example: A person takes some property from a drug store and is confronted by a store manger as they exit. If that person tries to resist detention or engages in a physical fight over the property and the store manager suffers bodily injury, then the police can charge the defendant with robbery.
The injury suffered doesn’t have to be a serious injury. The victim need only experience some type of pain. Furthermore, the defendant can recklessly cause the injury and still be charged.
A robbery charge in Texas is a second degree felony that has a penalty range of 2 to 20 years in prison. That’s a huge difference from a shoplifting charge that usually only carries up to 180 days in jail.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can often use the facts to pursued a prosecutor to reduce the robbery charge during plea bargaining. It all depends on the facts and the types of relationships and negotiating skills of the criminal attorney. The policies of the District Attorney’s Office will also be a factor.