Caught Shoplifting in Stamford
Both 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.
What Was Your Intention?
If you have been charged with shoplifting/larceny, it is important to know that intent is a huge part of the prosecution’s case against you. If it cannot be proven that you had the intent to take the items without paying, the requirements of the charge cannot be met. That said, intent is presumed if a person conceals an item on their person - for example, if you put something in your pocket, intend to pay for it, but walk out without doing so, you will be presumed to have had intent to steal.
In addition, if store personnel see you acting in a way they consider suspicious - that is, concealing goods or trying to walk out with items in your pockets or bags - they do have the right to detain you for the amount of time it takes to summon the police, as well as asking you your name, address, and other identifying information. You may also have to make restitution to the store or the store owner if you are convicted, as the store has sustained an economic loss that your conviction may not correct.
Call A Fairfield County Shoplifting Attorney
A shoplifting charge on your record can lead to social stigma, financial problems, and especially in the case of juveniles, to reduced opportunities in the future. If you or your child have been charged with larceny, the skilled Stamford shoplifting lawyers at the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner can help. Attorney Weiner handles many of these cases and is poised to work hard on yours. Contact the office today at 203-348-5846 for a free consultation.