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Theft Crime – Shoplifting Defense Lawyers

March 21, 2024 Uncategorized

In the big scheme of things regarding severe crimes, shoplifting falls far down on the list. However, that does not mean store security personnel, police officers, and prosecutors will not take this crime seriously and attempt to punish you to the fullest extent of the law. While shoplifters are responsible for millions of dollars in stolen merchandise that ultimately leads to consumers paying higher prices, this does not mean that all persons accused of shoplifting are guilty of the crime. In fact, today’s world actually makes it much easier to be accused of shoplifting when you actually never intended to do anything wrong. If you find yourself being charged with shoplifting but know you are innocent, do everything possible to hire an attorney who will fight for your legal rights as well as your reputation. Contrary to what many people believe, there are many viable defenses when charged with shoplifting.

Cashier Error
In many of these situations where shoplifting is alleged to have occurred, an experienced attorney can discover it was in fact a cashier error that led to the incident taking place. Since many retailers fail to properly train their employees in all facets of their jobs, it is quite easy for a cashier to make a mistake, such as thinking they rang up an item when they did not. Along with this, more and more stores are now using self-checkouts, creating even more opportunities for errors to occur. By examining evidence, reviewing security footage, and interviewing employees, your attorney can often prove you were in no way guilty of shoplifting.

Equipment Errors
Even in situations where a cashier is fully capable of performing their job, an equipment error can sometimes make it appear as if a person is attempting to shoplift items. Due to today’s cash registers being highly computerized and relying on numerous types of software, there can be instances where the register or other technical components of the system may malfunction. As a result, neither the cashier nor you as the customer may be aware an item was not properly accounted for by the system. Therefore, once you walk out the front door with the item, security personnel are immediately pursuing you and charging you with shoplifting. If facing this dilemma, work with an attorney who can use expert witnesses to examine these systems and give detailed testimony as to what malfunctions transpired.

No Prior criminal History
If you accidentally walk out of a store with an item that was not properly paid for at a register, this does not mean you will automatically be convicted of shoplifting. If you have no prior criminal history of shoplifting or any other offenses, your attorney can argue it makes no sense to assume you suddenly decided to embark on a life of crime. In many situations, it can be determined that the store itself was at fault, resulting in charges against you being dismissed.

Children Hiding Items
For parents who have children with them in a store, they know all too well how many times during the shopping trip their kids are grabbing at one item or another. While most of the time parents will catch this and put the item back on the shelf, there may be times when they are distracted just long enough for a child to hide an item inside their clothing or perhaps in their parent’s pocketbook. Should this happen, it will appear as if you are trying to shoplift. In addition, authorities may also try to allege you were using your children as part of your scheme, resulting in additional charges of child endangerment or threats of having your children taken away from you. If this happens, the situation can quickly escalate out of control, putting you and your children in a precarious legal position. Rather than let this happen, hire an attorney as quickly as possible to help with your defense. By doing so, you will likely be able to end a situation well before additional developments occur.

Mental Illness
While not very common, there are some people who suffer from kleptomania, meaning they have a compulsion to steal items from homes and businesses. As more emphasis is now being placed on addressing problems of mental health within the criminal justice system, your attorney may be able to use this to your advantage. Should you be suffering from various stressful events in your life such as the death of a loved one, recent job loss, or other situation, your attorney can argue you shoplifted the item due to being under extreme mental duress. If you have no prior history of shoplifting or other crimes and have expert witnesses as well as family and friends who can testify on your behalf, chances are your attorney can get the charges reduced or dismissed.

Theft Crime: Shoplifting Defense Lawyers

Every state in the United States has different criminal statutes that outline different crimes and penalties. Crimes can also be prosecuted on a federal level when an individual breaks federal laws. There are dozens of different theft crimes of different severities, and the nuance is slightly different at each state level. Some states have specific legal definitions of the term “shoplifting.” Other states don’t have any crimes that specifically refer to shoplifting, but have crimes that a shoplifter might be charged with instead.

Shoplifting is a term for a very specific context of theft. When a person shoplifts, they generally steal property from another individual, business, organization, or other entity. The person may take the property themselves, which is called larceny. If the person has property they know is stolen, the crime is criminally possessing stolen property. Shoplifting might occur when a person deprives another of their rightful property, removes property from a business without paying for it, or otherwise wrongfully takes property that does not belong to them. Even if the individual didn’t actually actively steal the property from the original owner, knowingly possessing stolen property is a form of shoplifting.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
2024-03-18
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
2024-03-18
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
2024-03-15
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
2024-03-12
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
2024-03-12
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
2024-02-28
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

If you have been accused of any theft crimes related to shoplifting, you should talk to your theft attorney right away. Whether you’ve been arrested or simply questioned by authorities, it’s vital that you get the protection of legal counsel. Everything you say to law enforcement will be used to build a case against you, even if you don’t think it’s incriminating. Instead of talking to the police, tell them that you want your lawyer. Your lawyer can advise you on what information you should or should not impart to the law enforcement officials.

How to Define Shoplifting

One of the most important aspects of a shoplifting crime is that it involves physical property rather than money. If you use a credit card that doesn’t belong to you or steal money from someone’s wallet, that’s still a theft crime. But it isn’t defined as shoplifting. On the other hand, if you remove food from a store or take clothing from a business without having purchased it, this is a form of shoplifting. Even if you haven’t removed the property from the premises of the store yet, it’s possible to get arrested for shoplifting while you’re still inside.

The circumstances can be complicated when an arrest occurs before an individual has left the store premises. Since they haven’t taken the items from the store yet, they haven’t technically committed a theft. However, they may have a reasonable amount of evidence indicating that they intended to commit a theft. For example, they might have stuffed merchandise into a zippered bag where it can’t be seen, or they might have changed into store clothes and taken the tags off like they intended to walk out wearing them.

Some individuals might use distraction or forgetfulness as an excuse. In fact, for some, this might be completely true. You might not have had any intention of shoplifting and have instead just been the victim of unfortunate implications. However, if you looked suspicious enough for the store owner to notify the police, there’s a good chance your excuse won’t be believed. If you are arrested before you’ve left the store, tell the arresting officer that you will not speak without your legal counsel present. Depending on the surrounding circumstances, your attorney may be able to get charges dropped due to a lack of evidence. Your lawyer will have a much easier time helping to get the charges dropped if you don’t say things that incriminate you to the police officer.

Stealing property is considered shoplifting. In the state of New York, where there is no specific shoplifting crime, you might be charged with a variety of more specific crimes at your arraignment. Some of the potential charges include:

  • Petit larceny
  • Grand larceny
  • Criminally possessing stolen property

Each of these crimes has different degrees and potential for consequences. Some of the crimes are classified as misdemeanors, while more serious actions can lead to a felony charge.

When a person is arrested for misdemeanor shoplifting in New York City, the prosecution often takes the form of Desk Appearance Tickets. These tickets are technically still arrests, but they have a certain amount of extra freedom. All the same, you will still receive an official charge of a crime and be fingerprinted for the criminal database.

A shoplifting crime is considered a misdemeanor when the value of the stolen items comes out to $1,000 or less. If you’re charged with stealing property that is worth more than $1,000 in total, the theft becomes a felony charge. The exact degree of felony depends on exactly how much the property was worth.

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