While shoplifting may seem like a minor crime with mild legal repercussions, the state of New York has enacted strict anti-theft laws to combat the issue. This often results in state prosecution being strict in applying these charges, especially for repeat offenders or theft of goods valued above $500. That’s why consulting with an experienced NYC shoplifting lawyer can help you navigate the nuances of your criminal defense case and achieve the most favorable outcome possible.
While browsing shirts in the mall, stealing one or two might seem a minor offense, but shoplifting is taken seriously in New York. Shoplifting is an issue in all five boroughs of New York City, and the state’s strict theft laws are applied vigorously to combat the problem. Often, this means combating charges of shoplifting is tough on defendants. Greco Neyland, PC can help.
Even shoplifting a $5 notepad can result in misdemeanor charges in New York, but typically shoplifting goods valued less than $500 is treated as a violation, not a criminal offense. In these cases, the applicable statute under state law is Disorderly Conduct found at section 240.20 of the New York Penal Code.
For repeat offenders or theft of property near or above $500, the prosecutor will charge you with a criminal offense. New York doesn’t have a statute specifically called “shoplifting.” Instead, serious shoplifting charges usually fall under New York Penal Law section 155.25. An NYC shoplifting lawyer can help fight these charges.
New York Penal Law section 155.25 criminalizes the stealing of property valued at or under $1,000. The specific crime is called petit or petty larceny. This is the least serious theft offense in New York but still has substantial consequences. Most shoplifting charges fall under this dollar amount and statute. Petit larceny is a class A misdemeanor in New York.
The other elements of petit larceny are:
Showing intent is an essential part of a petit larceny conviction. The intent to deprive is often demonstrated by evidence that the defendant took steps to withhold the property from the owner for an extended period of time or the defendant exercised control over the property for a similar duration. Refuting intent is a common defense against all theft charges, not just NYC shoplifting.
As a class A misdemeanor, the potential punishment for shoplifting property less than $1,000 is up to one year in jail and/or a criminal fine up to $1,000. Shoplifting property valued over $1,000 leads to harsher charges under New York Penal Law section 155.00.
Grand larceny is a felony offense that criminalizes wrongfully taking, obtaining, or withholding property valued over $1,000 with the intent to deprive the true owner of that property. The class of felony charged, and likewise the criminal punishment if convicted, depends on the value of property stolen.
Unfortunately, when it comes to larceny, criminal charges are not the only consequences you need to worry about if you have been accused of theft in NYC. In the state of New York, merchants are allowed to bring forth civil lawsuits in an attempt to recover any damages that result from shoplifting.
Merchants have the legal right to sue an adult or emancipated minor for the retail value of the merchandise up to $1,500 if the stolen property is not recovered in a reasonable condition that is able to be resold. In addition, they may be granted a penalty equal to $75 or five times the actual value of the stolen property, whichever is greater. On top of that, they can also be eligible to receive a penalty surcharge of up to $500.
In addition to the lasting legal repercussions that theft charges entail, these financial penalties make it all the more critical to consult with a reputable criminal defense attorney with direct experience in handling shoplifting or larceny cases in the state of New York.
Shoplifted property valued over:
In addition to the prison sentence, a felony shoplifting conviction can lead to substantial criminal fines. This fine can be up a specified amount depending on the class of felony charges or up to twice the amount shoplifted, whichever is greater. The severity of the prison sentence and potential criminal fine makes it important to engage a qualified New York shoplifting lawyer such as Greco Neyland, PC.
Hiring the right NYC shoplifting lawyer can make all the difference when it comes to ensuring that your legal rights are upheld, the charges against you are clearly defined, your sentence is reduced or even dismissed, and that you adequately understand the specific steps necessary as you navigate through the entire legal process.
Determining the severity of an individual’s theft charges can be dependent on a wide variety of factors, so if you are arrested for shoplifting, falsely accused, or facing charges on your own, do not hesitate to reach out to a trusted NYC criminal defense attorney to exercise your legal rights.
In the state of New York, it has become rather common practice for stores to hire security guards to help prevent and identify potential shoplifters. These security guards, whether they are wearing official uniforms or not, do have the right to detain you if they reasonably suspect you of having committed theft. However, detaining an individual suspected of shoplifting does come with legal limitations that must be strictly adhered to.
If the security guard has detained you in a reasonable manner and on the valid grounds of shoplifting suspicion, they are not allowed to use excessive force in any way, shape, or form. This includes verbal as well as foul language, threats, or racial slurs. They are also not allowed to detain you on the basis of any protected characteristics, such as race, skin color, or ethnicity.
Although they are allowed to place you in handcuffs, as long as it is reasonably warranted, they are not allowed to physically force you into handcuffs excessively or in any way that could cause you injury. Some may also try to lie to you in order to elicit a confession. Any form of these aggressive behaviors is illegal and can be used as grounds to have your case dismissed entirely.
Consult with a trusted NYC criminal defense attorney about what to do if you have been falsely accused or detained by a security guard on the grounds of shoplifting.
A: The penalty for shoplifting in NYC widely varies depending on the value of the goods that were stolen, as well as whether or not the suspected shoplifter is a repeat offender. For petit larceny, an individual can be penalized with a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 1 year of jail. For a grand larceny conviction, the individual can be penalized with a $5,000 fine or double the offender’s gain, as well as up to 25 years in prison, depending on the classification of felony (Class B-E).
A: The short answer is yes. Shoplifting has become an increasingly widespread issue across New York, so the state has developed strict anti-theft laws to protect stores and prosecute convicted shoplifters arrested for their crimes. Even if you haven’t left the store yet with a stolen item, you can still be arrested for concealing it on your person.
A: Yes. As with any crime, it is possible to be falsely accused of shoplifting. Facing accusations and criminal charges for something that you did not do can be an infuriating and distressing situation; however, you still have the right to defend yourself legally in these situations. If you’ve been falsely accused of shoplifting, get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney right away to ensure that you have experienced legal representation with your benefits in mind.
A: Petty theft, otherwise known as petit larceny, in NYC, is a misdemeanor charge for theft of goods valued at $1,000 or less. A misdemeanor conviction may not seem like much, but it can still result in sentencing of up to 1 year in jail, in addition to a fine of up to $1,000. Grand larceny is far more serious and can result in much more severe penalties.
While it may seem that shoplifting poses minimal legal risks, this has become a major issue with retailers nationwide, and more resources have been allocated in stores to combat this problem, particularly in the state of New York. Prosecutors have become more and more aggressive when it comes to the sentences handed out to even first-time offenders, which can result in even steeper legal and financial consequences.
It’s crucial to remember that you have the right to a qualified legal defense, so if you have been charged with theft of any degree in New York, then do not hesitate to call an experienced criminal defense attorney experienced with shoplifting laws to provide you with the representation that you’re entitled to.
The New York shoplifting lawyers at Greco Neyland, PC are ready to work on your defense to shoplifting charges in New York. We have experience defending all types and severity of theft, including representation of individuals accused of multiple shoplifting offenses. Regardless of whether your shoplifting charges are petit or grand larceny, we can take the case.
We have offices in New York and the Tri-State Area. Call us at (212) 951-1300 to schedule a free initial consultation.