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  • Writer's pictureBrian Foley

Conroe Criminal Lawyer - Theft from Wal-Mart Cases

Understanding Theft Charges in Conroe, Texas - Conroe Criminal Lawyer - Brian Foley - Board Certified Criminal Defense Attorney in Conroe, Texas.

Conroe Criminal Lawyer


In today's legal landscape, understanding theft charges in The Woodlands, Texas is crucial. Whether you're a concerned citizen or someone who finds themselves facing such allegations, it's essential to grasp the elements, implications, and potential outcomes of theft charges. In this article, we will break down the key aspects of theft charges in Texas, including the elements of the offense, the concept of intent to deprive, and the role of shopkeepers in detaining individuals suspected of theft.

Elements of a Theft Charge

A theft charge in The Woodlands, Texas, is defined by the Texas Penal Code Chapter 31. It involves unlawfully appropriating property with the intent to deprive the owner of that property. Let's dissect these elements:

  1. Unlawfully Appropriating Property: "Unlawfully" in this context means in violation of a Texas Penal Code provision, and Chapter 31 specifically covers theft offenses. Thus, any act that contravenes this code constitutes unlawful appropriation.

  2. Intent to Deprive: This crucial element involves the mental purpose of taking property and preventing the owner from enjoying it. It doesn't require keeping the property indefinitely; instead, it's about causing the owner to lose significant value and enjoyment.

Understanding Intent to Deprive

To clarify the concept of intent to deprive, consider this example: If someone takes an iPad with the intention of returning it after two years, the law still views this as an intent to deprive. Why? Because over two years, the original owner would lose all reasonable use and enjoyment of the property. In essence, the owner's right to possession takes precedence over the taker's interest in the property.

The Role of Shopkeepers in Theft Cases

A common question that arises in theft cases is whether retailers like Walmart can detain individuals suspected of theft, even though they aren't the police. Texas law addresses this with something called the "shopkeepers privilege." This legal provision allows asset protection personnel at stores like Walmart or Dillard's to detain individuals they reasonably believe have stolen or are attempting to steal property. They can hold the individual until law enforcement arrives to conduct an investigation, which may lead to an arrest.

Challenges in Theft Cases

People often find themselves facing theft charges due to mistakes, distractions, or simply having a bad day. To protect your rights and try to keep your record clean, various strategies can be employed:

  1. Challenging the Evidence: Attorneys will scrutinize the evidence provided by the District Attorney's office to find weaknesses or inconsistencies that may cast doubt on the case.

  2. Demonstrating Your Value: It's important to highlight your contributions to society and show that the offense was an isolated mistake, not reflective of your character.

  3. Extenuating Circumstances: If life stressors or exceptional circumstances led to the offense, these factors can be presented to the DA to seek a favorable resolution.

The Ideal Outcome: Expunction

In the best-case scenario, a successful defense can lead to an expunction. An expunction means that all records of the offense are entirely deleted from government databases, effectively wiping the incident from your record.


Facing theft charges in Conroe Texas, can be a daunting experience. Understanding the elements of a theft charge, the concept of intent to deprive, and the role of shopkeepers in detaining suspects is crucial. With the right legal guidance and strategies, individuals charged with theft offenses can work towards a clean record and a brighter future.

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