It should come as no surprise that a financial, tourism and retail center of the world has its share of shoplifting. From food to fine jewelry, stores across New York City take measures to guard against theft.
New York law treats shoplifting seriously, as well. There is no such thing as a minor criminal charge. While shoplifting, which is called petit larceny, may result in fewer consequences than a DWI or assault, make no mistake: a conviction for theft can have large ramifications.
Petit larceny, defined
Under New York law, petit larceny is theft of under $1,000 in goods. In order to be convicted of shoplifting, the prosecutor must prove that you wrongfully took the property of another person or entity with the intention of depriving that person or entity of the good(s) in question.
Shoplifting is separate from burglary. If you enter a store illegally, or stay past closing time, prosecutors may be able to prove that you entered the store intending to steal goods, which can result in much more significant consequences.
Other actions, such as extortion, embezzlement, writing a bad check, etc., can add criminal charges and increase criminal sentencing.
Criminal penalties for shoplifting
HYPERLINK "/All-Felony-and-Misdemeanor-Cases/Shoplifting.shtml" Petit larceny is a class A misdemeanor, meaning you cannot receive more than one year in jail or more than $1,000 in fines. These are maximum penalties.
The good news is that for a first offense it is extremely unlikely you will receive the maximum penalties. However, a conviction can still result in damage to your career, inability to get student loans and a loss of reputation in the community.
It is important to fight vigorously against every criminal charge, even if it was a one-time mistake and you just want to move past the event. You can discuss contesting charges, plea deals and alternative sentencing options with a criminal defense lawyer.