Being accused or arrested for shoplifting can be incredibly stressful and embarrassing. The term shoplifting is used to describe the non-violent theft of goods from a retail outlet. When a person has been accused of shoplifting, store security usually confronts them. The confrontation can occur while the person is still shopping in the store, trying to leave the store, or even days later. Most courts consider shoplifting a “property crime.” It is one of the
most common forms of theft. Some thieves make a living by shoplifting, but not everyone who is accused of shoplifting is a hardened criminal. If you have been accused of shoplifting, contact Mark Yampaglia Law PC for legal representation.
The situations where a security guard can detain you in a store due to petty theft or shoplifting and the burden of proof needed to convict in court are very different. For a security guard to detain you, he merely needs probable cause. To be convicted of shoplifting in the court of law, prosecutors will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person committed shoplifting under the definition of the law. If you have been accused of shoplifting, you were probably taken to a private room by store security. While being detained by store personnel, your belongings were probably searched for the stolen merchandise. Once the stolen merchandise has been found, store security is likely to call the police. After the police had arrived, you were likely transported to the precinct where a desk appearance ticket with a court date was given to you. If you weren’t released, you were probably taken to central booking for arraignment in front of a judge.
Accused with Shoplifting
All too often someone is charged with shoplifting due to mere shopper distraction. Stores invite people in, allow them to try on, pick up, and even carry items around the shop, which can create ambiguity when it comes time to prove intent in court. A criminal lawyer can present a personal explanation to the event that spurred a shoplifting charge or point out that the circumstances regarding the alleged theft are less than clear. If a prosecutor cannot
prove intent or that the shoplifting offense falls under the guidance of the law, the charges may be eligible for dismissal. For this reason, it is important to consult a criminal lawyer as soon as you’ve been accused of shoplifting.
Shoplifting is the act of wrongly obtaining property of another person or business with the intent to deprive that person or company of the property. Criminal penalties vary depending on the property value involved. In most cases, property valued at less than $1,000 are considered petit larceny. Shoplifting cases involving property more than $1,000 is regarded as a grand larceny. In addition to criminal charges, a person accused of shoplifting can also
face civil lawsuits from merchants.
Is Shoplifting a Serious Crime?
When accused of shoplifting, the seriousness of the charges will depend on the retail value of the goods involved. Cases of shoplifting can range from misdemeanors to felonies. In addition to charges and jail time, a person may also be subject to substantial fines in a shoplifting case. Beyond financial and criminal aspects, a person accused of shoplifting can also face serious personal consequences as well. For example, a shoplifting charge could affect your career or professional licensing. Immigrants associated with shoplifting charges could also have their status in the United States affected by a shoplifting charge.
If a person is convicted of shoplifting and the goods recovered are not returned in resellable condition, the merchant from which the items were stolen may create a civil liability case. In a civil liability case, the merchant will attempt to be reimbursed for the value of the goods, and the court could award additional damages.
Shoplifting Defense Attorney
Although you might not consider shoplifting a serious crime, it’s important to realize that it is. Retaining a criminal attorney can help you address the charges against you and walk away with your dignity and criminal record intact.
Contact Mark Yampaglia at Yampaglia Law to evaluate your shoplifting case. Mr, Yampaglia understands that life complexities could lead to a shoplifting charge and will work to advocate for you in court.