Shoplifting Can Become a Robbery
Shoplifting can become a robbery in Texas very quickly. The bad news is a robbery charge in Texas is a felony. How does this happen?
Shoplifting in Texas law is when a person takes property without the owner’s consent. In a typical shoplifting case, the person commits an offense when they take property from a retail business without paying for the it. The degree of the offense is determined by the value of the property but typically the charge will be a misdemeanor. In many cases the shoplifting charge will be a class C misdemeanor. A class C misdemeanor on carries a fine up to $500.
Shoplifting can become a felony charge 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 manager as they exit. If that person tries to resist detention or begins to 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. One punch or scratch is sufficient to increase the charge to robbery. 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. Things get even worse if the defendant has felony convictions. Felony convictions can be used by prosecutors to enhance the punishment range.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can often use the facts to convince 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.
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