Westchester County Shoplifting Lawyer
Although shoplifting can be a fairly common crime, it may still result in imprisonment and other potentially severe punishments. Additionally, those accused of shoplifting often have to deal with defending their rights in an unfamiliar and stressful courtroom environment.
In situations like these, a Westchester County shoplifting lawyer could help you with your case. After reviewing your case and the evidence against you, a dedicated criminal defense attorney could work with you to defend your rights both in and out of court and protect your best interests as much as possible.
Shoplifting as Petit Larceny
A shoplifting charge typically centers around the theft of an item of value from a store or other retail establishment. There are two primary categories of theft under New York law: petit larceny and grand larceny. The difference between these two categories usually depends on the total value of the item(s) allegedly taken.
New York Penal Law §155.25 defines petit larceny simply as the stealing of property. This offense is a class A misdemeanor, which may result in up to one year in prison as per NYPL §70.15. Additionally, such misdemeanors may cost the defendant up to $1,000 in fines if they are convicted.
Unlike petit larceny, which has only one variant codified in New York Penal Law, there are several different degrees of grand larceny. The least serious is grand larceny in the fourth degree, which involves shoplifting property exceeding $1,000 in value. According to NYPL §155.30, fourth-degree grand larceny is a class E felony, which carries a maximum possible prison term of four years.
The potential punishments for grand larceny increases in tandem with the value of the allegedly taken goods. For example, second-degree grand larceny involves the theft of property exceeding $50,000 in value, and first-degree grand larceny involves the theft of property over $1 million in value. Since even the least severe degree of grand larceny involves the possibility of up to four years in prison, any person charged with grand larceny should call a Westchester County shoplifting attorney sooner rather than later.
What are Some Potential Shoplifting Defenses?
Shoplifting and other kinds of larceny generally require an intent to take the property and deprive the rightful owner of that property. As a result, individuals may be able to defend themselves in shoplifting cases by presenting evidence that they had no intent to steal the property.
For example, they may have legitimately believed they paid for the item in question. Alternatively, some defendants may also be able to claim that they already owned the item and could not have possibly stolen it. A shoplifting lawyer in Westchester County could provide a more detailed review of possible defenses for each specific case.
What is Restitution?
A potential consequence of a shoplifting conviction is court-ordered restitution. As opposed to court-imposed fines, restitution is a monetary penalty that requires a person convicted of shoplifting to pay back the value of the stolen or damaged item to the alleged victim.
How Could an Attorney Help in a Shoplifting Case?
A defense lawyer in Westchester County could play an important role in every aspect of a shoplifting case. Their efforts could begin at arraignment by securing the defendant’s release from jail. Then, an attorney could push forward with plea negotiations in an effort to obtain a favorable resolution to the case. Legal counsel could provide helpful guidance to the defendant on what makes a plea offer good or bad.
Preparing for trial is another important area where an attorney’s experience could be pivotal. Whether facing a jury or pleading the case directly before a judge, the process of preparing witnesses and offering evidence can be challenging. An attorney could address those challenges and handle the trial preparation from start to finish.
Speaking with a Westchester County Shoplifting Attorney
Shoplifting charges can vary widely depending on the situation and the amount of merchandise allegedly stolen. Defendants must therefore be vigilant in defending their rights from the very beginning of their case in order to maximize their chance of success.
A Westchester County shoplifting lawyer could sit down with you and answer any questions you may have on your charge and what to expect. Then, they could investigate and present evidence on your behalf in order to strengthen your defense in court and provide you with the legal help you need. Call today to get started on your case.