New Haven Shoplifting Lawyer
In Connecticut, shoplifting is defined as removing items from a store without paying for them. It is a simply defined offense that can carry serious penalties. Shoplifting is a form of larceny which means the offender intended to deprive another person or entity of property that has some value. An experienced larceny attorney could fight for you and help you understand your options if you have been charged with shoplifting. Call a New Haven shoplifting lawyer today to schedule a consultation and get started on your defense.
Differences Between Shoplifting and Other Theft Charges
An important distinction between shoplifting and other theft-related offenses can be the use of force. Shoplifting is simply the taking of property, there is no use of force or threat of use of force. The moment there is the use of force or the threat of force, it turns into an offense far more serious like robbery. Often, an individual alleged to have committed a shoplifting offense is exiting the store and is approached by a security officer. If the person pushes or shoves that officer, the shoplifting turns from a simple theft offense into a much more serious robbery offense.
Penalties for Shoplifting in New Haven
The maximum penalties associated with a shoplifting will depend on the degree of larceny. The degree of larceny depends on the amount that is alleged to have been taken. Connecticut and New Haven have six degrees of larceny, ranging from larceny in the first degree, which is the most serious, to larceny in the sixth degree, the least serious. Each degree of larceny carries the potential of incarceration, probation, and other collateral consequences. Therefore, it is essential for a defendant to reach out to a New Haven shoplifting lawyer.
The consequences of a misdemeanor shoplifting charge can include convictions for a criminal offense that carries the possibility of probation. In Connecticut, the misdemeanor larceny offenses are larceny in the fourth, fifth and sixth degrees.
How Shoplifting can Result in Felony Charges
A shoplifting case can be considered a felony under several circumstances, the most common of which is anytime it involves property in excess of $2,000. Additionally, if an individual has been convicted previously of larcenies, even a misdemeanor larceny, they can be charged with a felony under what is called a persistent-larceny-encounter statute. The two typical scenarios for which a person could be facing felony shoplifting charges are when someone takes a larger sum of property or they have had previous larceny convictions.
When preparing a shoplifting charge, a New Haven shoplifting lawyer will take a three-pronged approach to the case to provide them with the framework they need to build a defense. The first prong is whether the prosecution can prove the case, that the individual intended to deprive the person or entity of actual property that had value. Do they have a witness? Do they have video? Do they have evidence of the person’s intent?
Second, is there a legal defense? Can evidence be suppressed? Was a statement taken in violation of the defendant’s Miranda rights? Is there some piece of evidence the state will try to offer at trial that the defense might be able to exclude? The third prong is a social defense, which is typically based on an individual’s history in terms of what they do in the community. Are they in school, working, have kids? Have they ever been in trouble before? Are they in treatment?
With that three-pronged framework, the defense attorney assesses the case, analyzes it, and determines the best approach. They figure out how to use each of those factors to pick apart the state’s case and present the case in a favorable way so they can obtain a favorable outcome for the defendant.
Contacting a New Haven Shoplifting Attorney
A shoplifting conviction can lead to severe penalties and other long-term consequences. This is why it is important for defendants to call a New Haven shoplifting lawyer immediately after being charged. The sooner an attorney is contacted, the sooner they can begin working on the defendant’s case. A seasoned lawyer has experience handling these types of cases. They know the shortcomings and pitfalls and which things to look out for from the beginning of the case. A lawyer could also prepare you for what to expect. Having that comfort and knowledge will ease the situation. If you are facing charges, call a dedicated defense lawyer today.