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Understanding New York State Shoplifting Charges

Knowing what to expect when you have been charged with shoplifting in New York State can make all the difference in the outcome of your criminal defense case.

 

Getting arrested for shoplifting can be both embarrassing and stressful. If that isn’t enough, you may be facing criminal charges that carry potential jail sentences of up to one year.  The good news is that in most cases such as these, my clients have walked away without any criminal record at all.

 

If you are accused of taking merchandise from a store, you will likely be charged with petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property, which are misdemeanor charges as per the New York State Penal Law. A misdemeanor conviction would result in a criminal record, the collection of your DNA for a State database and potential problems down the road.  These could include problems with job applications, college or technical school applications, professional licensing, immigration status and more.

 

Many people are under the impression that a shoplifting charge is a difficult one to beat. However, there are many instances where a case such as this cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, resulting in a dismissal of all charges.  In addition, Robert S. Gershon can often get a dismissal of the case without going to trial, especially if it is a first offense.

 

In New York State, the business where the alleged theft occurred may be able to file a civil claim against the defendant under what is known as the New York General Obligations Law. This New York State law provides for additional civil penalties if the business can provide proof of damages. According to the law, damages in the amount of “the retail price of the merchandise if not recovered in merchantable condition up to an amount not to exceed fifteen hundred dollars” and a penalty not to exceed five hundred dollars, can be imposed, should the civil courts rule in the favor of the business.

 

If you have been charged with shoplifting in New York, don’t hesitate to contact me to arrange legal representation.

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