Civil Penalties For Theft In Texas
Civil penalties can be defined as non-criminal remedies for violation of laws/regulations. The penalties normally include civil fines or other forms of financial payment as a remedy for damages.
Generally, the law makes individuals responsible for their own negligent or intentional actions. However, in some cases, the law can make you liable for the unintended consequences of your actions or those of others.
Besides being subjected to criminal penalties, persons who are found guilty of theft in Texas i.e., shoplifters are civilly liable to theft victims as per the Texas Theft liability Act. Victims of theft (such as store owners in the case of shoplifting) can recover monetary rewards such as a civil penalty not exceeding $1,000. Victims can also recover actual damages linked to the theft i.e., the retail value of items stolen if they aren’t returned in a sellable condition.
Parents or legal guardians of minors guilty of theft in Texas may also find themselves civilly liable under the Texas Theft liability Act. Such parents or guardians may be liable to paying for actual damages resulting from the theft. Damages are capped to $5,000.
The Reason Behind Civil Penalties For Theft
There are parents in Texas who have been sued as per parental responsibility laws. Some claim the laws interfere with a parent’s rights to raise their child as they choose. As per the laws, poor parental supervision hasn’t been defined explicitly, highlighting exactly what it means to be a good parent. Although parents have a right to raise their children, this right comes with a duty to exercise reasonable control and supervision over their children.
There are many past routine rulings that states have an interest in promoting public welfare by making parents accountable if they fail in their parental duties. The essence of subjecting parents to penalties for theft offenses committed by their children is to uphold parental responsibility. Civil penalties imposed on parents for theft committed by their children incentivize parents to supervise and have reasonable control over their children.
The reason behind civil penalties in parental-related issues is apparent since the law caps awards recoverable from parents by plaintiffs. Compensating the victim isn’t the main motivation behind the legislation.
Another important reason for civil penalties is compensating victims of theft for unforeseen occurrences. Theft attracts unforeseen financial burden to victims. Lawmakers recognize this, which is why they impose civil penalties. For theft committed by minors, victims can be compensated accordingly since minors may not have the financial capacity to compensate victims for losses going beyond theft.
Theft attracts serious consequences in Texas. Civil and criminal penalties, coupled with the long-lasting consequences of theft, must be taken seriously. Individuals facing theft charges should consider hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Texas to help them protect their rights. Criminal defense attorneys are the best-placed attorneys to handle theft-related charges. Since theft can attract civil penalties that go beyond the perpetrator, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to prepare the strongest defense.