Even though there are thousands of shoplifting cases each year in New York City, shoplifting is still a Class A misdemeanor and can put your future in serious jeopardy. If you have been charged with shoplifting, you should consult with an experienced New York shoplifting lawyer. Here are a few things that are helpful to know if you have any questions regarding shoplifting cases.
Shoplifting | Common Misconceptions
Stealing is a crime too often misunderstood. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to leave a store with a stolen item to be charged; you might be arrested, charged, and convicted of shoplifting for concealing an item on your person without leaving the store – even if you claim you intended to pay for it. The problem doesn’t “go away” if you return the item, either. Store owners in New York know their rights and will act aggressively to combat the practice of stealing by prosecuting individual shoplifters. In most cases, you could face a charge of petit larceny, with a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a fine of $1,000. That’s just in criminal court, though; you could face further penalties in civil court.
Shoplifting | Contacting an Attorney
In New York, shoplifting is a crime that will be prosecuted by the prosecutor’s office in whatever county that you’re in. Some counties will vigorously prosecute those charges, while other prosecutors are more interested in diversion and making sure that person does not commit that crime again. The strategy employed by a well-practiced New York shoplifting lawyer will depend on which county you were prosecuted in. You should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to describe the events that occurred. It’s very important that if you have a prior criminal record, and even if you don’t, that you seek the advice of Counsel. People often get arrested and are given Desk Appearance Tickets for shoplifting. These cases can be successfully represented quickly and easily by an experienced New York Shoplifting Lawyer.
Shoplifting | Cleaning Your Criminal Record
A conviction can follow you for years, or even a lifetime, affecting your personal life and career. In New York State, there are only two ways to keep charges off your record: expungement and adjournment in contemplation of dismissal. If the court dismisses your charges, this is the same as expungement. You would not have to file any additional paperwork to “clean” your record, because in the eyes of the New York State courts, your record was never marked.
Also, depending on the charges against you and your previous criminal record, your attorney may be able to meet with the judge and district attorney to negotiate an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal, or ACD. This is like a “diversion.” You will not be convicted, but you will have to stay out of any further trouble, and possibly face non-criminal penalties, including fines and/or community service. After a certain period of time, if you don’t run into any further trouble, the charges will be, essentially, dismissed. Outside these two scenarios, there is no way to clean a criminal record in New York State.
If you have any questions regarding stealing in New York, please call our experienced New York criminal defense lawyer today for a free consultation and fierce legal representation.