Man committing petty theft.

Are Shoplifting and Petty Theft the Same Thing?

Texas, like most states, determines the classification and punishment of a theft offense, like petty theft or shoplifting, and based upon the value of what is stolen and sometimes the type of property that has been stolen. 

What is Petty Theft?

Texas state law defines petty theft as those crimes that involve smaller amounts of property stolen. Therefore when someone shoplifts, it doesn’t always classify as petty theft. Each instance is dependent upon the value of the property that has been stolen as well as the defendant’s criminal record. 

However, there are various types of shoplifting theft offenses, including the following:


1. Misdemeanor Theft


One of the most common shoplifting charges is misdemeanor theft, which falls into three categories

  • Class C – The value of stolen property is less than $50.
  • Class B – The value of stolen property is between $50 and $500.
  • Class A – The value of the stolen property is between $500 and $1,500.

2. State Jail Felony Theft



When the value of the stolen property falls between $1,500 and $20,000 you may be charged with a state jail felony. If convicted you can face imprisonment in a state jail for anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. Additionally, you can face fines of up to $10,000. 


3. Felony Theft


The most serious charge that a shoplifter can face is felony theft in the third, second, or first degree. Felony theft is rather uncommon in shoplifting cases due to the high value of the property stolen. However, if a shoplifter takes something of very high value or steals from the same retailer multiple times, they could face this charge. 

  • Third Degree – The value of the stolen property is between $20,000 and $100,000.
  • Second Degree – The value of the stolen property is between $100,000 and $200,000.
  • First Degree – The value of the stolen property is $200,000 or more.

Criminal History Makes an Impact

It is also important to understand that an individual’s criminal history can make an impact on both the charges and penalties for shoplifting, resulting in increased penalties. Aside from facing possible jail time and paying large fines, a criminal conviction for theft of any kind can impact your future indefinitely, from difficulty securing a job to finding housing. It can also irreparably damage your reputation.

The Attorneys at Ceja Law Firm Help Those in Houston Who Have Been Charged with a Theft Offense

If you have been charged with a theft offense in Texas, it is important to take the situation very seriously.

At Ceja Law Firm PLLC, we understand the serious nature of such a criminal charge and the impact that it can have on your life. That’s why we will work to help you obtain the best possible outcome. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!