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While shoplifting is often seen as a minor crime, these charges can still follow you—and impact your life—for many years. It’s normal to feel the urge to plead guilty, pay the fine, and move past this potentially embarrassing event. But first, you should consider hiring a New Bedford shoplifting lawyer to advocate on your behalf.
Courtney K. Fogarty is a seasoned criminal defense attorney with a proven track record of aggressively going to bat for her clients. She understands the complications that often come with a shoplifting charge on your record, and she’ll work fervently to help you avoid these unfair consequences.
The penalties for shoplifting in Massachusetts are fairly straightforward but become quite harsh for repeat offenders and felony charges.
If the value of the shoplifted items is less than $100 and it’s your first offense, you’re looking at a fine of up to $250. For your second offense, you can receive fines up to $500. If you’re charged with a third offense, you can be sentenced to up to 2 years in jail.
If the value of the shoplifted items in more than $100, you could receive fines up to $1,000 and receive a sentence of up to 2.5 years in jail.
If you’re charged with misdemeanor larceny under $250 instead of shoplifting, you may spend up to 1 year in jail and receive fines up to $300.
Finally, if you’re charged with felony larceny over $250, you’ll spend up to 5 years in prison and receive fines up to $25,000. For repeat offenders or charges of shoplifting items worth more than $250, the penalties can be disastrous to your career, relationships, and life.
When it comes to shoplifting in Massachusetts, the definition covers much more than just stealing. At the same time, this broadens your options for potential defense strategies. Because each case is completely unique, contacting an expert New Bedford shoplifting lawyer like Courtney is the best way to custom-tailor a strong defense.
In many cases, the shoplifting was truly an accident. Courtney will work to preserve any favorable evidence, suppress all negative evidence, and get to know you personally in order to achieve the ideal result for your case.
It’s also incredibly common to mistakenly think someone in your party paid for the item in question. Honest mistakes and accidents happen to everyone. This situation is absolutely defensible in shoplifting cases. You don’t deserve a blemish on your record for something like this—especially considering how steep the penalties are for a repeat offense.
As your criminal defense attorney, Courtney will also consider the actions of the store’s employees, security guards, and even the police officers involved. Breaches of protocol or anything inappropriate are grounds for having your charges dismissed entirely.
In Massachusetts, the state of limitations on shoplifting is 6 years. This means even if you weren’t caught in the act of shoplifting, you could be formally charged up to 6 years after the incident. This is true whether you’re being charged with a misdemeanor or a felony.
In Massachusetts, shoplifting is defined as “intentionally taking possession of, carrying away, transferring, or causing the carrying away or transferring of any merchandise which is held, offered for sale, or stored by any retail mercantile establishment/retail store while intending to deprive the merchant of use or benefit of said merchandise without issuing payment to the merchant.”
Essentially, in Massachusetts, you can be charged with shoplifting by doing any of the following:
As you can see, it’s possible to be charged with shoplifting even if you didn’t intentionally steal merchandise from a store. If you’re facing shoplifting charges of any kind, you’ll need a proficient and successful New Bedford shoplifting lawyer like Courtney to negotiate with the prosecution and ideally get your charges dropped.
Shoplifting is a felony in the state of Massachusetts if the goods in question are valued at more than $250. The thing is, once the value of stolen items reaches more than $100, the crime is no longer considered shoplifting. Instead, you may face larceny charges.
If the value of the items or goods is greater than $100, you can be charged with misdemeanor larceny rather than shoplifting. If the value exceeds $250, you may find yourself facing felony larceny charges.
While prosecutors often pressure individuals to plead guilty to shoplifting by lowering the fines, you’re much better off contacting a New Bedford shoplifting lawyer.
With over 10 years of experience including time as an Assistant District Attorney, Courtney is an expert criminal defense attorney committed to keeping your record clean.
A shoplifting offense can often cause bigger issues for you down the road. Don’t leave your future to chance. If you’re facing shoplifting charges, contact Fogarty Law at (508) 317-0339 to schedule your 60-minute initial consultation with Courtney, free of charge.