Shoplifting isn’t just a crime for thrill-seeking teens. We often think of kids stealing candy from a corner store, but shoplifting is a serious offense and one that is often committed by adults who feel like they have no other choice. Whether money is tight and you saw this as your only option or if the charge is a complete misunderstanding, a criminal defense attorney can help you sort through the legal proceedings and work towards getting the most positive results possible.
In New York, shoplifting is charged as a larceny offense. This means it is classified with all other theft offenses. The difference from one case to the next is usually determined by the value of the item(s) that were allegedly taken.
But you don’t have to physically remove merchandise from a store without payment to be charged with shoplifting. In some cases the prosecution will try to prove you intended to shoplift merely because you concealed merchandise. Also, if you are accused of switching price tags to get a better deal, that can be considered theft.
A shoplifting charge can result in jail time and a permanent mark on your record. This doesn’t even begin to account for the potential damage to your reputation and your professional and personal relationships.
New York Shoplifting Laws & Penalties
In general, because shoplifting rarely involves merchandise over $1,000 in value, it is charged as petty larceny. This is considered a Class A Misdemeanor which carries up to one year in jail. If, by some strange circumstances, your shoplifting involved merchandise valued at more than $1,000, you could face felony grand larceny charges, which have the potential to result in several years in prison.
How Can An Attorney Help?
When you are confronted with criminal shoplifting charges, it’s not unusual to feel like the system has already made up their mind of your guilt. A criminal defense attorney, however, is there to work on your behalf, advocating for your best interests in court.
Your attorney may question eyewitness testimony as witnesses frequently make mistakes and this could be a case of mistaken identity. Similarly, if the police violated your rights in any way during the arrest, your attorney could request that the case be dismissed.
More than anything, your attorney is there to ensure you understand what is happening and to ensure your rights are protected. If you’ve been charged with a New York shoplifting offense, contact us today for a consultation with a New York criminal defense attorney.