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Shoplifting Crimes

Shoplifting Desk Appearance Tickets

Make no mistake. A charge of shoplifting in New York and New York City - whether you were issued a Desk Appearance Ticket (D.A.T.) or held for 24 hours before seeing a judge - is a serious criminal offense that requires the assistance of a New York criminal lawyer to navigate. In fact, the lowest level misdemeanor that the District Attorney's Office can charge you with in connection to a shoplifting arrest - Petit Larceny pursuant to New York Penal Law 155.25 or Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree pursuant to New York Penal Law 165.40 - is punishable by one year jail. In New York City, even a day spent on Rikers, aka, the "Island" is one day too long.

Despite the fears that some New York criminal attorneys will try to instill in you, an experienced New York City shoplifting should not and will not pray on your panic about incarceration. A reputable lawyer will tell you that other than the initial incarceration when you were first arrested or issued a D.A.T., jail is generally not a real concern for individuals accused of shoplifting for the first time in New York City. However, that same New York shoplifting defense attorneys will also explain that a shoplifting Desk Appearance Ticket and arrest anywhere in New York City - Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx - has the potential for life altering consequences even when there is no criminal conviction.

It is critical for an accused shoplifter to understand the following and to vet these issues with their legal counsel prior to going to court:

(1) A Desk Appearance Ticket charges you with only one crime. Prosecutors can charge you with additional misdemeanors and potentially felonies beyond what is printed on your D.A.T. and how is the charge ultimately determined?

(2) There are significant collateral consequences to a D.A.T. for any shoplifting crime even without a criminal conviction. These civil and non-criminal ramifications can be devastating your career as well as legal status in the United States.

(3) Although no lawyer can guarantee an offer, what are the general offers for first time offenders arrested for shoplifting?

(4) What are the general defense "themes" against a prosecution arrest including, factual, legal, procedural and mitigating defenses?

(5) What records, if any, may be preserved even if you are not convicted of shoplifting in a New York City court?

Your Shoplifting Defense: Tough Questions & Tougher Answers

If you are charged with any shoplifting crime in New York City, your New York criminal lawyer or Desk Appearance Ticket attorney will help you understand the charges against you and mount a vigorous defense. Your counsel's main goal will be to reduce or defeat those charges in their entirety while preserving your future and career. To prepare your plan of attack, your attorney may begin by asking you some of the following questions in various ways:

  • Were you still in the store when you were stopped?
  • If you were still in the store where you in the vestibule area?
  • Had you passed the checkout or register area?
  • Were you holding items or had you "concealed" them in a bag?
  • If the property was in a personal bag, where in the bag where the items?
  • Did the store supply shopping carts or baskets?
  • Were you carrying a "booster" bag?
  • Was it merely a mistake and had you intended to pay?
  • If you were in an off-limits area, was it clearly marked as such?
  • What was the value of the allegedly stolen property?
  • Did you make any admissions or statements? If so, to whom?
  • From where were the items recovered?

Remember that a conviction for shoplifting will come back to haunt you, regardless of what field you pursue in the future. It will not be expunged. Your "rap sheet" will always reveal your charge even if the conviction involved a mere $20 theft. Not only will a background check always disclose this crime, but whenever asked by an employer or any agency if you have a criminal record, the answer must be in the affirmative. Obviously, the ramifications to a doctor, lawyer, real estate broker, financial advisor or student can be life altering.

If you are facing a Desk Appearance Ticket (D.A.T.) in New York City related to shoplifting - NY PL 155.25, NY PL 165.40 or any other crime - an experienced New York criminal defense attorney can navigate you through the process and give you the best opportunity to either mitigate or defeat your case.

A Final Thought About Your NYC Shoplifting Arrest

Remember that it's up to you to decide whether or not you want to go to the New York City Criminal Courts alone or, instead, engage the services of a New York criminal attorney with experience fighting shoplifting charges like yours. Your future may depend on the decision you make today.

Legal Issues & Potential Defenses for NYC Shoplifters:

  • How does the law put a value on merchandise?
  • What is the "wholly inconsistent" shoplifting standard
  • How can you be prosecuted if you never left the store?
  • What is a "trespass notice" in a shoplifting case?
  • What is the impact of a shoplifting dismissal on a civil proceeding?

Our law firm serves clients in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Westchester County. Call us at 212.312.7129 or contact us online today to speak with our New York attorneys and former Manhattan prosecutors about misdemeanor shoplifting crimes.

In depth information on shoplifting crimes, statutes and laws is located on Saland Law's New York Criminal Lawyer Blog and its shoplifting crime section.

Client Reviews
Jeremy answered his phone at 3am to help secure my son's release without bail, within hours. He went straight to the people that mattered and kept my son informed in the cells, giving him hope when no one was communicating with us. He was helpful to the extreme; very kind; very calming for my son; very confident he would be released. The fact he answered the phone, in bed, at 3am, when he was asleep was stunning - especially as no other lawyer did. They all rang back about lunchtime!!! I always felt informed; well advised and that someone was working in my son's best interest. I recommend him wholeheartedly. Sarah
Jeremy’s past experiences in working with the DA and his knowledge of the legal process was instrumental in getting my charge of unlawful surveillance dismissed. I would recommend his services to anyone who is facing serious legal charges. I found him to be professional, honest, intelligent, and I could not have had a better legal outcome than the one I received. Anonymous
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