Shoplifting might seem like a relatively minor crime, but the penalties for stealing merchandise from a retail store can be severe. Depending on the total value of the items stolen, those who are accused of shoplifting could face misdemeanor or felony charges.
In addition to tarnishing your criminal record, you may have to pay a fine of up to $5,000 or double the cost of the items stolen, whichever is greater. There are also civil liabilities to consider. You may be sued for the cost of the stolen goods and be ordered to pay a penalty to the property owner, which could be up to five times the value of the merchandise.
If you are facing shoplifting charges, the smartest step you can take to protect your future is to consult a criminal attorney. At LoTempio P.C. Law Group, we have more than 200 years of combined experience, and our attorneys have defended thousands of clients against all kinds of criminal charges. Call 716-855-3761 to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our New York criminal defense lawyers.
Read on to learn the potential penalties for shoplifting:
A conviction for shoplifting can carry a hefty fine. Those who are charged with stealing items worth less than $1,000 may have to pay a fine of up to $1,000. Shoplifting merchandise worth more than $1,000, on the other hand, can result in a fine of up to $5,000 or double the value of the stolen items, whichever is greater.
Shoplifting merchandise worth less than $1,000 is a class A misdemeanor, which means a conviction for doing so carries a potential jail sentence of up to one year. If you’ve been accused of stealing more than $1,000 in retail property, you will face felony charges. Depending on the total value of the items stolen, the maximum potential prison sentence can range from four years to 25 years.
3. Civil Liability
Merchants have the right to sue those who steal from them. For example, if the products were lost or damaged, they can sue for up to $1,500. They may also pursue a penalty from shoplifters. This penalty is calculated by multiplying the total value of the stolen property by five; however, it cannot be less than $75 or more than $500.
If you received a demand letter from the merchant, that does not necessarily mean you have to submit payment immediately. Even if they imply you have a civil obligation to do so, this may not actually be the case. It is best to give the letter to your lawyer, who will advise you on the best way to proceed.
Discuss Your Case with a Criminal Defense Lawyer in New York
If you’re facing shoplifting charges, turn to the criminal defense attorneys at LoTempio P.C. Law Group. We will evaluate the circumstances of your case and the strength of any evidence against you to determine the most strategic way to fight the charges. Call 716-855-3761 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a criminal defense lawyer in New York.