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Fairfield criminal defense attorneyTaking something from a store without paying for it is a crime. However, shoplifting is shockingly common. Some studies report that as many as one in 11 people have stolen merchandise from a retail store at least once in their lives. Many people think that shoplifting cannot result in severe criminal penalties. They assume that the act will only get them a slap on the wrist. In reality, shoplifting can lead to considerable consequences, including jail time.

Is Shoplifting a Misdemeanor or Felony in Connecticut?

In Connecticut, shoplifting is one of several offenses categorized as larceny, meaning the wrongful appropriation of property with the intent to deprive the owner of it. The severity of a larceny charge is determined by the value of the goods allegedly stolen. According to Connecticut law:

  • Theft of goods valued at $500 or less is a Class C misdemeanor, with penalties of up to three months in jail and a $500 fine.

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Fairfield County auto theft defense lawyerAlthough it is often trivialized by movies and video games, stealing a motor vehicle is a serious criminal offense. In Connecticut, “carjacking” or theft of an automobile is punishable by imprisonment, heavy fees, and other grave consequences. If you or a loved one has been accused of stealing a car, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. A skilled attorney will help you understand the charges laid against you and how best to fight them.

Carjacking and Auto Theft Laws in Connecticut

Carjacking is a colloquial term used to describe the theft of a vehicle. There is no law in Connecticut specifically addressing carjacking; rather, theft of a motor vehicle will fall under the laws prohibiting larceny or robbery depending on the circumstances of the alleged crime. Robbery refers to the forcible taking of property away from the rightful owner, while larceny describes theft that takes place without the property owner’s immediate knowledge. If you allegedly stole a vehicle directly from an individual through the use of force or the threat of force, the crime will likely be classified as a robbery. If the owner or driver was not present at the time of the alleged offense, the crime will likely be classified as larceny. A robbery or larceny conviction can have profound consequences on your life. You may face considerable jail time, steep fees, and other criminal consequences. Having a theft-related conviction on your record can also reduce your employment opportunities, prevent you from finding quality housing, or even impact child custody matters.

What to Do During a Robbery or Larceny Arrest

If you have been arrested for auto theft, you should know that you have certain rights. Criminal defendants have the right to avoid self-incrimination, meaning that you do not have to answer police questioning or submit to interrogations. You have the right to stay silent, and one of the best things you can do to increase your chances of avoiding a conviction is to decline police questioning until your lawyer is present. Your lawyer will ensure that you are not coerced or tricked into incriminating yourself. Your lawyer can also help you build a strong defense against the charges you are facing.

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Posted on in Theft and Property Crimes

CT defense attorneyWhen the average person talks about crime, they may use the terms ‘robbery’ and ‘theft’ or ‘larceny’ interchangeably. However, in Connecticut law, the two have very different meanings. Larceny is what one might think of as simple theft, while robbery is a more serious offense, often carrying a much more serious penalty. If you have been charged with any kind of theft crime, it is crucial to understand your options in terms of how to defend yourself against such charges.

Larceny Crimes In Connecticut Law

“Larceny” is not a specific crime in Connecticut; rather, it is used to describe a large group of offenses in which someone takes, obtains, or withholds another person’s property with the intent to deprive them of it permanently. There are several crimes contained under the umbrella of larceny, and to reflect this, there are six different degrees of larceny crimes under Connecticut law. Examples include embezzlement, shoplifting, conversion of a motor vehicle, theft of services, and several other offenses.

Some larceny crimes are misdemeanors, while others are felonies; the classification of the crime will usually depend on the value of the property stolen. However, there are other factors that might play a role as well, such as the age or disability of the victim and the presence or absence of fraud. For example, larceny involving false pretenses and a disabled victim is second-degree larceny, regardless of the value of the property stolen.

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CT defense lawyerBoth juveniles and adults will occasionally engage in shoplifting, for a variety of reasons. However, if you are caught and charged with the theft crime, the consequences can be quite severe. Talking to an experienced attorney can help you understand your options and how best to handle the situation, as trying to navigate the process on your own can lead to significant financial and social issues later on.

Can Be Misdemeanor Or Felony

In Connecticut, there is no such thing as a ‘shoplifting’ charge; rather, a person is charged with larceny, with the degree depending on the dollar value of the item or items they stole. Generally, a person is charged with shoplifting if it can be shown that they intentionally took possession of items offered at a ‘place of sale’ - for example, a store, a flea market or garage/tag sale - without any intent to pay for them. There are six degrees of larceny in Connecticut, with the values ranging from $500 and under for sixth-degree larceny, to over $20,000 for a charge of first-degree larceny.

Most shoplifting charges are for the misdemeanor charges of fourth, fifth, and sixth-degree larceny, and they carry jail terms of a year or less, with fines ranging from a few hundred dollars to $2,000. A first-degree larceny charge carries up to 20 years in jail and a $15,000 fine, but it is rare that a shoplifter has access to steal items worth that much. Juveniles may have their cases heard in juvenile court if law enforcement deems it appropriate, which may help them avoid any confinement term, instead allowing them to complete pretrial detention programs or otherwise pay back the debt.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shoplift_20191102-040045_1.jpgShoplifting is an all too common crime, but just because it occurs regularly does not mean that law enforcement does not take it seriously. If you have been arrested and charged with shoplifting, you need an experienced attorney on your side to make sure that your rights are protected. Having any kind of charge on your record can cause problems for you later on down the road.

Dollar Amount Matters

Shoplifting falls under Connecticut’s larceny law, in which ‘larceny’ is used as an umbrella term to cover many different theft crimes. Its rough definition is when someone intentionally takes items from a store or other ‘mercantile establishment’ without intending on paying the advertised price for the goods. It can be confusing to some, but if you have been charged with a theft crime, the charge will likely be larceny, even though it is technically a more specific offense.

The value of the goods that are taken usually determines the severity of the charge - there are six different degrees of larceny, with varying degrees of fines and jail time possible. The most common arrests for these types of crimes are the misdemeanor offenses; fourth, fifth and sixth-degree larceny charges do not yield much jail time - less than one year - but the fines can add up, as well as having to comply with any other type of restriction placed on you by the court.

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