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Shoplifting in New York is a crime prosecuted as larceny under state law. Individuals convicted of a larceny charge may face jail or prison time, fines, and civil penalties. Shoplifting may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony charge, depending on the value of the items taken without permission.
Larceny is one of the most common criminal charges heard in New York courts. Thousands of larceny cases make their way into the court system every year. Millions of dollars worth of property is illegally taken in New York every year. Although it may seem that taking items that do not belong to you is a solution when short on cash or otherwise unable to afford an item, the penalties that come with a conviction prove that it simply isn’t worth that risk.
What is Shoplifting?
Shoplifting in New York is an act committed when a person takes, withholds, or otherwise obtains property that belongs to another person. The person who takes or withholds the items does so with the intent to deprive the person of that property. The victim of a shoplifting crime may not realize the property has been taken from them immediately. Therefore, a person may be charged with larceny well after the actual crime is committed.
Property with a value of $1,000 or less is charged as petit larceny while shoplifting property with a value of over $1,000 is known as grand larceny. Shoplifting is charged according to NewYork Penal Law 155.25. The crime is then placed into a felony category based upon the value of the item.
Larceny charges are possible whether the items taken belong to another person or a store/market. Some people think that shoplifting charges are possible if items are taken from another person but this is inaccurate information. Any time items are taken that don’t belong to you, it may result in criminal larceny charges.
Penalties for Shoplifting
Apart from criminal penalties, individuals convicted of shoplifting charges may also face civil penalties that require them to repay the value of the stolen property to the victim. In almost every case of shoplifting, a judge does order repayment of the stolen property, known as restitution. A person may also be ordered to provide community services to the person or company from which they victimized.
A petit larceny charge is a Class A misdemeanor. Convicted parties may face a fine of up to $1,000 and one year in prison. Stolen property valued at $1,001 – $3000 is a Class E felony. Convicted parties may receive a prison sentence of 1 – 3 years and a $5,000 fine. Penalties for shoplifting increase as the value of the property increases.
Judges usually examine an individual’s prior criminal history when sentencing an individual convicted of shoplifting. Diversion programs are available for individuals convicted of shoplifting. Such diversion programs are often reserved for individuals without prior convictions for shoplifting or without lengthy criminal histories.
Is a Plea Bargain Possible?
With the help of a criminal defense attorney, a plea bargain is another possible outcome for a person who is convicted of shoplifting. Many criminal cases end with a plea bargain being negotiated between each side of the case. The plea bargain varies according to the circumstances of the case and prosecuting attorney. With the help of an attorney, a great plea bargain is usually attainable. However, never attempt to handle this task alone, since most of us lack the legal expertise necessary to handle such a task.
Talk to a Lawyer
Facing larceny charges is scary, whether it’s a misdemeanor or a felony charge. The simple task of appearing before a judge to answer the charge is scary and causes a lot of stress. Knowing that you may go to jail or prison only worsens the situation. In addition to the penalties described above, larceny convictions put your good name at risk. Finding a job may not be simple and you may find denials for rental apartments occur frequently.
Lawyers offer free consultations for people facing larceny charges. Speak to a lawyer during a consultation to learn the many benefits his legal expertise can bring to your case. Not only do lawyers eliminate some of the fear that you feel when a criminal charge is ahead, but they can also reduce the risks of being convicted and the penalties of a conviction.