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What Happens If You’re Charged With Theft?


There are approximately 27 million shoplifters in the US today. We understand that with the holidays approaching, people may be more inclined to use other means like simple theft or shoplifting to get gifts. We also understand other mistakes happen in life. Whether you’ve been accused of theft or if you’ve got caught up in a theft-related situation, you may be wondering what happens after you are charged.


Well, we have some answers for you. Below we’ve outlined some of the different types of theft, what the consequences are, and what next steps you should consider taking action on.


Types of Theft

In general, stealing is the action of taking property that doesn’t belong to you. There are many different types of theft in general, there are a few that are more common than others. Some examples of different types of theft include but are not limited to:

  • Check Theft - Intentionally issuing a bad check or using another’s check with criminal intent.

  • Petty/Simple Theft - Property is stolen without one’s consent—theft of personal property.

  • Aggravated Theft - Theft or robbery with the use of weapons or intimidation. Also can be the theft of government property.

  • Grand Theft - Stealing property with value excessing $500 (in Texas).

  • Shoplifting - Unlawfully taking a retail store’s property

  • Theft of Service - Receiving a service by threat or deception or refusing to pay services rendered.

  • Embezzlement - theft of funds belonging to one's employer.

  • Identity theft - the use of a person's private data or information, usually for financial gain or other criminal intent.

Consequences Of Theft

The penalties for these charges can vary depending on what was allegedly stolen, attempted to be stolen, or other implications involved in the case. The offense levels for each type of theft can range from a class C misdemeanor to class A misdemeanor, and from a state jail felony-level crime to a first-degree felony. A class C misdemeanor may only be a $500 fine; however, a first-degree felony could be 5 years to 99 years or Life in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).


Amount of Money Involved

Offense Level

Punishment Range

Theft < $100

Class C Misdemeanor

Fine Only up to $500

Theft > $100 but < $750

Class B Misdemeanor

0 to 180 days in jail.

Theft > $750 but < $2,500

Class A Misdemeanor

0 to 365 days in jail.

Theft > $2,500 but < $30,000

State Jail Felony

180 days to 2 years in a State Jail Facility

Theft with 2 Prior Theft Convictions of any grade

State Jail Felony

180 days to 2 years in a State Jail Facility

Theft > $30,000 but < $150,000

Third Degree Felony

2 years to 10 years in TDCJ (Prison)

Theft > $150,000 but < $300,000

Second Degree Felony

2 years to 20 years in TDCJ

Theft > $300,000

First Degree Felony

5 years to 99 years or Life in TDCJ


Next Steps

After you are charged, the process diverges into a number of different steps, including but not limited to an arraignment, post-arraignment, pre-trial, trial, verdict, and more. If you or a loved one has been charged with theft, often the next best step to take is to talk to a criminal defense lawyer. The cost of fines combined with the cost of having a theft conviction on your record can be detrimental without an attorney. However, a lawyer or attorney will be to assist in the direction of your case, provide you with a strong defense, help provide solace regarding your case, and more.


At Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC, we may be able to help with your theft charges today. Attorney Mclain is skilled and experienced in the law and can handle any case, no matter the complexity. Call us today to talk to someone about setting up your defense for your case. (214) 238-9392

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