HEB is one of Texas’ most beloved stores with over 30 locations in the Houston area. But according to many reports, HEB takes a tough stance against shoplifters. If you are arrested for shoplifting at HEB, you will likely be arrested and face a theft charge, which could result in a fine, probation, jail or a permanent stain on your record. This article discusses what you can expect if you are caught shoplifting at HEB and how you can clear your name.
Does HEB have a policy on shoplifting?
Although HEB’s shoplifting policy is not available online, HEB is known to aggressively prosecute shoplifters and there are even articles online suggesting that they pressure District Attorney’s offices to impose tough sentences against shoplifters. In the Houston area, it is common for charges to be filed against anyone who is caught shoplifting at HEB. Like other large retailers, HEB employes loss prevention officers and spends large sums of money on security equipment to prevent losses due to shoplifting.
What kind of charge would I face for shoplifting at HEB?
In Texas, shoplifting offenses are charged as theft (technically, there is no offense called “shoplifting”). In Texas, the seriousness of a theft charge is based on the value of the items. The potential punishment for shoplifting/theft in Texas is as follows:
-Theft is considered a Class C Misdemeanor if the value of the property stolen is worth $100 or less and is punishable by a fine up to $500.
-Theft is considered a Class B Misdemeanor if the value of the property stolen is more than $100 but less than $750 and is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine up to $2,000.
-Theft is considered a Class A Misdemeanor if the value of the property stolen is $750 or more but less than $2,500 and is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine up to $4,000.
-Theft is considered a State Jail Felony if the value of the property stolen is $2,500 or more but less than $30,000 and is punishable by 180 days to two years in state jail and/or a fine up to $10,000.
In Houston and Texas in general, the vast majority of shoplifting cases are filed as misdemeanors. For obvious reasons, it is very rare for someone to be accused of shoplifting more than $2500 from a grocery store, which is the amount that would make a shoplifting charge a felony.
Do I have to leave the store to be charged with shoplifting at HEB?
You do not have to leave the store with an item to be charged with shoplifting. Under the Texas theft statute, there is no requirement that a person physically leave the store. Instead, the statute says that a person commits theft if he intentionally “appropriates” (which basically includes any physical manipulation or touching of merchandise) property with intent to deprive the owner of property. This can include concealing items or changing barcodes on merchandise, even without leaving the store.
What should I do if I have been arrested for shoplifting at HEB?
If you have been arrested for shoplifting at HEB do not panic. The important thing is to do everything possible to get the case dismissed. After an arrest, one of the first things you will want to do is hire the right attorney to handle your case.
In a shoplifting case, a good criminal defense attorney can assist you at every stage of the process – from the first court appearance, to the resolution of the case and (hopefully) an expunction. A good criminal defense attorney should have a clear strategy to get the case dismissed. It is also very important that you obey any bond conditions ordered by the court, and of course, stay out of trouble.
How can you keep a theft charge off of your record?
In order to keep a shoplifting charge completely off of your record, you will need to obtain an expunction of the arrest. In Texas, an expunction is considered to be the best result in a shoplifting case since it causes all records relating to the arrest held by any agency to be destroyed. After an expunction is complete, you are even allowed to deny the existence of the arrest in most instances.
But it is important to remember that you need to have your case dismissed or go to trial and be acquitted to be eligible for an expunction. If you are given any kind of probation after a shoplifting arrest you are not eligible for an expunction (the only exception is that a Class “C” deferred may be expungable if completed successfully).
Being arrested for shoplifting can be an extremely stressful experience, but it is possible to put it behind you and protect your record. If you have been arrested for shoplifting anywhere in the Greater Houston area, call Ceja Law Firm for a free consultation.