Facing criminal charges in Texas can be stressful, especially if the accusations are false. Your first instinct might be to insist on your innocence as you attempt to explain the situation, but law enforcement and prosecutors could end up using your statements to build a case against you. Even if the accusations are inaccurate or false, you should exercise your right to remain silent and contact a skilled Houston criminal defense attorney right away. Here are some strategies for navigating false accusations of theft in Texas.
Understanding Theft Offenses in Texas
First, it is important to understand the nature of the charges you’re facing. Title 7, Section 31.03 of the Texas Penal Code states, “A person commits an offense if he unlawfully appropriates property with intent to deprive the owner of property.” One of the most common types of theft is shoplifting, wherein a consumer takes ownership of the property without compensating the proprietor. Depending on the value of the property in question, a shoplifter could face costly fines or even jail time if convicted of theft.
Know and Exercise Your Legal Rights
When a retailer or law enforcement officer accuses you of theft, your first step is to understand and exercise your rights. If you know the accusation is false and that the retailer or an employee has made a simple mistake, show them your receipt. However, if they insist on pushing the matter further, remember that you have the right to remain silent. You have no legal obligation to provide detailed personal information, explain yourself, sign paperwork, or pay money when accused of theft. Instead, remain calm and cooperative until you have the opportunity to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Contact a Skilled Pearland Criminal Defense Attorney Right Away
While you may think you can simply explain the situation and show the retailer or law enforcement officers that the accusation is false, resist the urge to do so. Any statements you make can be twisted or used against you later on, so say as little as possible until you’ve discussed the situation with a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer. Together, you and your attorney will assess the specifics of your case and determine the most strategic path toward having the charges dropped, dismissed, or reduced.
If you or a loved one is facing theft charges in Pearland or Brazoria County, call the Law Offices of Keith G. Allen, PLLC, today at (832) 230-0075 to arrange a free consultation with a trusted criminal defense lawyer.