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Shoplifting Defense Attorney in Manhattan

Skilled Criminal Defense for Clients Throughout the Five Boroughs

Shoplifting laws are complicated and can have serious collateral ramifications for the accused. Store security has been worked up into a frenzy in recent years, leading thousands of innocent people to be arrested for this crime. Reach out to a skilled Manhattan shoplifting crime lawyer immediately if you are charged with any form of shoplifting. The penalties can be more serious than you think.

At the Law Office of John Buza, PC, we can tell you more about your case and our defense strategy during a free consultation. Call (212) 577-9328 today.

Penalties for Shoplifting

Shoplifting is a form of larceny and the degree of larceny that you are charged with has to do with the value of the property that you are accused of taking. While shoplifting may seem like a non-serious crime that is typically punished with a “slap on the wrist,” but depending on the value of the property, the accused could be charged with a felony and a prison sentence.

The police and the District Attorney’s Offices routinely mischarge larceny crimes because they don’t accurately determine what the value of the stolen property actually is. Just because a certain department store says that a bag is worth $5,000 does not mean that the value of that bag is actually that. Even if you are guilty of shoplifting, your defense attorney can help you reduce charges by determining the actual value of the stolen property.

Accompanying Charges

Typically, when a person is charged with a crime that stems from a shoplifting arrest, the District Attorney's Office brings two or three different charges. There is almost always a larceny charge and a criminal possession of stolen property charge. These charges make it slightly harder for the accused shoplifter to get off on a "technicality." The degree of larceny and criminal possession of stolen property both directly correspond to the value of the property taken.

In addition to these accusations, the District Attorney's Office may charge "Possession of Burglar's Tools." An example of this charge would be when a person accused of shoplifting if found to be in possession of a bag with aluminum siding- which is commonly used to stop store sensors from going off. Possession of Burglar's Tools is a class A misdemeanor which is punishable by up to one year in jail.

Civil Charges

After you are accused of shoplifting, store security may give what is called a "Civil Demand Letter". Pursuant to New York General Obligations Law, a store is entitled to recover damages from the person who stole from them. The idea here is that it helps them pay for shoplifting prevention.

In lieu of pursuing a civil court case, Stores will often demand that the person just pay the money at the store. They sometimes go so far as to use the credit cards of the accused shoplifter and they put charges on them. It is strongly recommended that you do not do this. The stores often take advantage of scared or embarrassed people and lie to them to get them to consent. They might even make empty promises about not calling the police. It is easier and cheaper for stores to recover the money this way. Even if you pay what the store asks, they usually still call the police and you will still be facing criminal charges.

Contact a Proven Manhattan Shoplifting Defense Attorney Today

John Buza is an experienced New York defense attorney and is a former Manhattan prosecutor. Our team is prepared to help you if you or a loved one has been charged with any of these crimes.

Call us today at (212) 577-9328 to arrange a free consultation.


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