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Are you grappling with a theft accusation in Arlington or a nearby community in Tarrant County, Texas? Navigating such waters can naturally spark anxiety and indecision regarding the steps to take or how to secure a favorable outcome in your theft case. Our objective is to equip you with insightful resources that steer you in making well-grounded choices pertaining to your predicament in Texas.

It is utterly common to feel overwhelmed and frightened during this time. The looming threat of employment loss, incarceration, or acquiring a lasting theft record can be daunting. You may find yourself tirelessly searching online or browsing through community forums seeking guidance on ways to have your theft case annulled.

Your concerns regarding a theft accusation are well-founded. It is vital to work towards having your theft case thrown out and wiped from your criminal records. Unfortunately, facing either a felony or misdemeanor theft conviction can considerably obstruct your employment prospects. A significant number of employers regard theft and shoplifting convictions as serious as a felony charge, causing them to doubt your reliability as a prospective employee.

First and foremost, we need to explore the nature of theft and the crimes linked to it as delineated by the law in Texas. To illustrate this, I will narrate a story of a previous client whose theft experience in Tarrant County, Texas, might shed light on how to formulate your defense strategy. Before we dive into that, here’s a snapshot of the legal landscape surrounding theft in Texas:

In Texas, theft is legally characterized as the unauthorized possession of another person’s belongings. The repercussions for a theft offense primarily depend on the worth of the property or services taken. The potential repercussions for being convicted of theft in Texas are as follows:

  • Theft of property/services under $100 might be categorized as a Class C Misdemeanor
  • Theft of property/services ranging from $100 to $750 might lead to a Class B Misdemeanor
  • Theft of property/services between $750 and $2500 might be classified as a Class A Misdemeanor
  • Theft of property/services from $2500 to $30,000 might entail a State Jail Felony
  • Theft of property/services between $30,000 and $150,000 might culminate in a Third-Degree Felony
  • Theft of property/services ranging from $150,000 to $300,000 might lead to a Second-Degree Felony
  • Theft of property/services exceeding $300,000 could result in a First-Degree Felony

Whether labeled as a felony or misdemeanor, theft is a serious criminal offense with substantial long-lasting repercussions. Apart from incarceration and fines, a theft conviction might irrevocably tarnish your employment opportunities. The Texas legal framework views shoplifting and several other theft offenses as crimes of moral turpitude. A conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude might narrow down your job prospects, pose a threat to your immigration status if you’re a non-citizen, and possibly cast a long-standing stain on your personal reputation.

A couple of years ago, I received a phone call from a young individual apprehended for theft in Arlington, Texas, particularly involving shoplifting. His name was Tyler. During our conversation, Tyler’s distraught parents chimed in. They were astonished that their son was caught up in a dilemma that could potentially tarnish his future. At that time, Tyler was halfway through his undergraduate studies at Texas Christian University in Arlington, Texas.

When Tyler visited my office, I began responding to his inquiries. It was clear that Tyler was extremely distressed about his time in custody. He voiced his apprehension about potential re-arrest, conviction, and the ensuing negative implications that might jeopardize his forthcoming endeavors. This sparked his initial query…

“What Are My Options If I Was Only a Witness to the Theft and Not the Actual Perpetrator? Can My Case Still Be Dismissed?”

Tyler broached our conversation with a critical question – if you weren’t the person directly involved in the theft, is there a possibility of case dismissal? The answer might be affirmative. Tyler was referencing the Law of Parties as outlined in Texas legislation.

According to the Law of Parties in Texas, even if you didn’t personally commit the theft but were involved in assisting, encouraging, or facilitating another person in the crime, you can be considered criminally responsible. Essentially, if your actions in any way contributed to the commission of the theft, you might be held accountable as per the Law of Parties.

However, I assured Tyler that the application of the Law of Parties requires the State of Texas to substantiate its claims convincingly. Mere presence at the location of the crime does not inherently establish criminal accountability. There might be situations where you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong moment, which causes law enforcement to suspect your participation in the theft. Tyler then questioned…

“What Constitutes Theft? What Must the Prosecution Prove to Convict Me?”

To substantiate a theft or shoplifting charge, the State of Texas needs to convincingly demonstrate that Tyler deliberately or knowingly deprived the property owner of their possession without consent. In Tyler’s scenario, he was implicated in a shoplifting incident at a local retailer. Having listened to Tyler’s account of events, I deemed it necessary to enlighten him about some nuances related to first-time shoplifting allegations.

An in-depth explanation of the facets of a shoplifting charge by an attorney is indispensable. For instance, if Tyler was accused of pilfering items from the store but inadvertently missed scanning an item among others, establishing criminal intent for theft could pose a significant challenge for the State of Texas.

Shoplifting instances often encompass situations where you haven’t crossed all points of sale due to some distraction. This scenario is frequently observed in establishments like Walmart, where individuals are apprehended moving from the main shopping area to other sections, accused of attempting to leave without settling the bill. In such cases, if you haven’t bypassed all points of sale, establishing a criminal intent for theft could prove difficult for the prosecution.

Since this was Tyler’s initial encounter with the law, I emphasized the importance of refraining from accepting a plea bargain hastily. It was imperative to aim for a case dismissal given the severe ramifications a conviction might entail. This gave rise to Tyler’s next question…

Understanding the Different Aspects Between Theft and Shoplifting Charges in Texas

I clarified for Tyler that based on the legislation in Texas, shoplifting and theft aren’t differentiated; they both refer to the same criminal activity. Despite the nature of the allegations – whether it revolves around stealing from a store – the Texas state needs to validate the constituents of theft, proving it unequivocally.

The distinction between theft and shoplifting often lies in the specific situations being prosecuted. When dealing with a theft case, a legal representative might propose that a contentious business transaction amounts to theft. Yet, proving theft under these conditions requires the state to incontrovertibly demonstrate that the suspect had fraudulent intentions at the point of forming the contract, a typically arduous task.

In some instances, corporations assert that they have been exploited by clients, which culminates in theft accusations. Organizations such as Rent-A-Center and similar rent-to-own firms sporadically claim to be victims when a customer fails to maintain hefty interest repayments due to unforeseen hardships, prompting them to file theft reports. Such exploitation of the criminal code needs to be challenged legally.

Fundamentally, it was vital for Tyler to comprehend the necessity of avoiding a plea agreement. The priority was to broker a deal for case dismissal to erase the charge and the arrest from his criminal background. This segued into Tyler’s next query…

Is There a Chance to Have the Shoplifting Case Dismissed and Erased from My Records Even if All Elements are Confirmed by the Prosecution?

Definitely! If the authorities manage to validate each facet of the theft claim beyond a shadow of doubt, we still hold a substantial chance of having Tyler’s case annulled. This could be achieved either via a conditional dismissal or by leveraging a diversion program available in Tarrant County.

Tyler found the notion of a conditional dismissal in theft cases fascinating and was eager to delve deeper. A conditional dismissal functions similarly to a contract, where the prosecuting party consents to withdraw the case if certain pre-agreed conditions are met. It necessitates your defense attorney to liaise actively with the prosecutor, persuading them to revoke the case in exchange for fulfilling specific stipulations, including community service, participation in a theft prevention class, or verifying regular employment, among others.

Moreover, Tyler was curious about alternative avenues concerning Diversion Programs for theft cases. Notably, Tarrant County, Texas, facilitates a distinct Diversion program suited for these circumstances. Tyler should consider this opportunity, as completion of a Diversion Program marks him immediately eligible for expunction.

In Tarrant County, the Deferred Prosecution Program (DPP) acts as a rehabilitative route that accommodates certain theft-related crimes. It is particularly designed for individuals encountering their first run-in with the law, devoid of any previous criminal records. This initiative promotes minimal supervision while providing a fresh start for newcomers to the criminal justice system.


To qualify for this program, participants should be below 24 years of age, with a clean record devoid of any juvenile or adult convictions of class B misdemeanor or higher, and pass a drug screening. The DPP unfolds in two separate paths: Track A, the standard route encompassing all theft and related offenses, involves steps such as application, background verification, orientation, and successful completion of a drug test. A compulsory requirement is to initiate the application within 90 days from the case registration to be deemed eligible.

Here are the fundamental aspects of the DPP program:

  • Associated Fees:
  • Track A: $125
  • Orientation: Accompanied by a parent or responsible adult, attending a 2-hour session to sign necessary documentation and kickstart the program.
  • Duration:
    • Misdemeanor Drug Offenses: 4 months
    • Felony Drug Offenses: 8 months
  • Drug Testing

Eligible offenses within the scope of the DPP program encompass:

  • Theft and service theft, with a value under $30,000 (Ranging from Misdemeanor to State Jail Felony)
  • Unauthorized Vehicle Usage (State Jail Felony)
  • Non-residential Building Burglary
  • Coin-Operated Machine Burglary
  • Credit and Debit Card Misuse (State Jail Felony)
  • Forgery (Misdemeanor Level)
  • Possession or distribution of instruments used for retail theft (Misdemeanor)

Lastly, considering Tyler’s brief tenure in the military, he ought to be acquainted with the Tarrant County Veteran’s Court Diversion Program, which might also serve as a viable option in his case.

Tarrant County’s Specialized Veterans Court Initiative in Texas

In Texas’ Tarrant County, the Specialized Veterans Court Initiative is a distinctive rehabilitation initiative tailored for U.S. military veterans. To be eligible, candidates must have a medically certified diagnosis of brain damage, mental illness, or psychological disorder, which includes PTSD, stemming from serving in a battle zone or danger-prone region. A fee of up to $500 is applicable, with potential additional costs for drug screenings, evaluations, and therapy sessions.

Participants in the Veterans Court Initiative are closely monitored through frequent bi-monthly check-ins to assess their adherence and growth. Depending on individual requirements and consistency, the duration of the program fluctuates between 6 to 24 months.

To enroll in this initiative, prospective candidates need to seek a referral. Upon receipt, an in-person interview and thorough evaluation are coordinated for final authorization. Subsequently, participants are mandated to submit a plea before the concerned court to initiate the program.

On the bright side, successful completion of the program results in case dismissal, allowing for the expungement of the charge from one’s criminal record. However, failing to meet the program’s conditions implies forfeiting the right to a jury trial, having previously admitted guilt, giving the judge the authority to dictate your sentence within the allowed boundaries.

In a real-life scenario, Tyler felt both reassured and hopeful, equipped with valuable insights and a defined strategy to secure his freedom and clean his criminal slate. What was the conclusion of Tyler’s story? Despite having several avenues to see his theft case dismissed, we managed to convince the prosecuting attorney that Tyler was merely at the scene of the theft by coincidence, a mere case of being at the incorrect location at an inopportune moment. Consequently, he was vindicated and qualified to have his arrest and charge expunged from his record.

Unfortunately, Tyler’s case is not isolated, as many individuals apprehended for theft in Texas are not armed with the vital knowledge needed to navigate the aftermath of an arrest wisely. It is our aspiration that this data sheds light on the dynamics of the criminal justice process, especially in relation to theft incidents in Texas.

Exploring further, what about other offenses that are similar to theft within Texas jurisdiction? Firstly, let’s identify various other crimes, encompassing both felonies and misdemeanors, that share a connection with theft, including:

  • Breaking into a Building
  • Home Invasion
  • Mugging
  • Violent Robbery
  • Forgery
  • Illicit Use of Personal Data
  • Fraudulent Check Transactions
  • Service Fraud
  • Unauthorized Vehicle Utilization
  • Fraud in Welfare
  • Possession of Stolen Merchandise

While discussing theft-related crimes, it’s essential to understand the legal nuances that differentiate theft from burglary and robbery.

These distinctions might seem subtle and often get blurred in mainstream media and cultural references, creating a cloud of misunderstanding about what separates a robbery from just theft or how burglary charges can be levied even without a theft occurrence.

In this context, we strive to clarify these differences as delineated by Texas legislation, presenting legal definitions and potential repercussions. Subsequently, we will examine the avenues accessible for those facing allegations for any of these infractions.


Fundamentally, theft is defined as the unauthorized possession of someone else’s property, intending to permanently deprive the rightful owner of it. Charges of theft can be leveled in cases where an individual knowingly accepts stolen assets or if the owner hasn’t granted permission for the appropriation. The severity of penalties can increase if the offender holds a public office, works in a governmental entity, is a Medicare service provider, or if the victim is elderly or represents a non-profit organization. Furthermore, theft allegations can encompass a broad spectrum of activities including, but not limited to, service theft, misappropriation of trade secrets, unauthorized vehicular usage, and theft involving retail instruments or financial information.


Robbery, on the other hand, escalates the crime of theft by involving acts of violence or threats thereof. If during the commission of a theft, bodily harm is inflicted, or a person is put in fear of imminent physical harm or death, it qualifies as a robbery. To be charged, the offender needs to exhibit intention, knowledge, or disregard for the safety of others. Aggravated robbery is characterized by severe bodily harm inflicted upon another person or the use or display of a lethal weapon during the robbery event. Additional factors enhancing robbery charges include the victim being above 65 years of age or having a mental, physical, or developmental disability.

Committing a robbery can result in a charge of a second-degree felony, leading to a sentence of up to 20 years in jail and a fine not exceeding $10,000. In instances where the robbery is escalated to an aggravated status, it qualifies as a first-degree felony, attracting a prison term ranging from 5 years to a life sentence, and a potential fine up to $10,000.

Breaking and Entering:

The act of burglary is characterized as an unlawful entry into a residence or building with the intent to undertake theft, assault, or another felony, without the permission of the property owner. The burglary charge stands even if an individual merely attempts or plans to commit theft, assault, or a felony, or if any part of their body or an object they are holding enters the premises.

Depending on the nature and location of the burglary, penalties can vary:

  • Non-residential building: State jail felony
  • Commercial establishments housing controlled substances: Third-degree felony
  • Residential property: Second-degree felony
  • Residential property with the commission or attempted commission of a felony (excluding felony theft): First-degree felony

Special circumstances concerning burglary involve varying levels of penalties, including:

  • Interfering with coin-operated or collection machines: Class A misdemeanor
  • Automobile-related offenses: Range from Class A misdemeanor to state jail felony or third-degree felony, based on specific situations
  • Unlawful entry (Criminal trespass): Penalties vary depending on the exact location breached and if the intruder was armed with a handgun

In Case of Facing Theft-Related Accusations:

If you find yourself confronted with charges akin to theft, it is imperative to get in touch with our legal team at the earliest opportunity. This enables us to offer a free initial consultation, during which we will dissect the nuances of your case and guide you through your potential courses of action.

Time is of the essence. Delaying action not only gives the prosecuting team an advantage but might also hinder your chances to procure or use certain evidentiary materials. Reach out to us, and we will work tirelessly to preserve your rights and reputation by building the strongest defense possible to counter your charges.

For further clarity or inquiries about your particular situation, we remain at your service to provide swift and comprehensive responses.