Theft charges are more significant than many people realize. A criminal conviction can result in jail or prison time, significant fines, and damage to your reputation that could affect you for years to come. That’s why you shouldn’t take theft charges lightly. After all, the prosecution isn’t going to. So, if you’ve been accused of theft, then you need to know how to aggressively defend yourself to protect your interests and your future.
Texas’s organized retail theft law
One lesser-known type of theft charge is organized retail theft. The law on organized retail theft is pretty broad and wide-ranging, meaning that it can affect more people than you might think. Under the law, you can be convicted of organized retail theft if you intentionally conduct or facilitate an activity that results in you possessing, storing, selling, or simply receiving either stolen retail goods or goods that are represented as stolen retail goods. In many instances, organized retail theft occurs when goods are stolen from a retail establishment and then either resold online or returned to the store in exchange for a gift card.
The penalties for organized retail theft vary depending on the value of goods stolen. For example, those offenses involving property valued at less than $2,500 will be classified as some type of misdemeanor, and anything more than $2,500 will be considered a felony, perhaps even all the way up to a first degree felony. The penalties can be heightened if you’re found to have organized or supervised the activity in question or if you somehow prevented a retail theft detector from going off. This means that a conviction could land you in prison for years, perhaps even decades if the crime was severe enough.
Know how to fight back against theft allegations
Depending on the facts of your case, you’ve probably got a handful of criminal defense options at your disposal. A lot of times you can simply deny the allegations and attack the prosecution’s assertion that you received or sold stolen goods. Another common tactic is to challenge intent. In order to obtain a conviction, the prosecution has to prove that you intentionally received or sold stolen goods. This is a high bar that can be difficult for the prosecution to pass.
When charged with theft, there’s simply too much on the line to leave your case to chance. Therefore, consider working with a skilled legal advocate who can help you build the strong legal arguments you need to push back against aggressive prosecutors.