Facing criminal charges is never an easy thing. No matter how “minor” the charges are, they are bound to cause some stress as you face the potential for fines, jail time, and untold effects on your reputation and relationships. A local defense attorney can help put it all in perspective, working to ensure you get the best possible results when you need to appear in court.
Most people accused of shoplifting feel ashamed and panicked. What was a momentary lapse of judgement or desperate and impulsive decision now has legal consequences.
In Massachusetts, shoplifting laws are not considered a trivial thing. These are serious criminal charges. Whether you stole because you felt like you didn’t have a choice or if you simply did it because you didn’t think you would get caught—you now have to deal with the police and the courts in ways you may have never had to before.
If this is your first experience in the criminal court system, it is understandable to be nervous. But, when you have an experienced and aggressive defense attorney on your side, you can be confident that your rights are protected.How to Beat a Clerk Magistrate’s Hearing by Attorney Russell Matson
In Massachusetts, most criminal shoplifting incidents result in a criminal citation to a “show cause” hearing also called a Clerk Magistrate’s Hearing.
The good news is that very often, a lawyer can get the charged dropped completely at the hearing. Even when you are totally guilty and know they have to dead to rights.
If you have been arrested, the case is a little more complicated, but very often a reasonable deal can be worked out for minimal penalties if it isn’t a serious charge and there aren’t prior offenses.
Massachusetts Shoplifting Penalties
Like most states, the penalty you face for a shoplifting charge in Massachusetts is dependent on the value of the goods you are accused of stealing, Any criminal history also plays a role at sentencing.
If the goods were valued at less than $100, you will face fines of $250 for a first offense and $500 for a second offense. However, for a third offense shoplifting you will face possible incarceration of up to 2 years.
If the goods were valued at $100 or more, you will face up to 28 months in prison and fines reaching $1,000 for a first offense. This potential prison sentence only gets longer as your criminal history grows. If you have a more extensive your history, the more time you are looking to serve.
Ref: Mass. Gen Laws Ch 266 Sec 30A
In addition to criminal penalties, the store owner you are accused of shoplifting from has a right to seek damages for more than what you stole. In most cases, they can recover more than $500 beyond the initial value of the theft.
A local Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer has handled many shoplifting cases before. They know the penalties you are facing and the stress you are under because of it. They know you need someone on your side with your best interests in mind.
If you’ve been charged with shoplifting in Massachusetts, call or fill out the form to be in touch with a local defense attorney as soon as possible. We can offer you a free consultation on your case and some potentially valuable advice at how to proceed with minimum penalties, and very possibly, no criminal charges filed.