Understanding the Legal Implications of Shoplifting in Connecticut
Some people steal merchandise from a store because they are unable to afford the item they want or need. Others do so for the thrill, excitement, or adrenaline rush. And then there are those that shoplift for the sake of committing another crime, such as selling the goods in exchange for cash. Whatever the reason behind the act, shoplifting (otherwise known as larceny) is a crime with potentially far-reaching implications for those convicted.
Although shoplifting might seem like a pretty straightforward charge, it actually covers a large array of potential acts, including:
- Removal of goods from a merchant's establishment,
- Concealing goods with the intent to remove from a merchant establishment,
- Altering or removing labels or price tags of goods at a merchant establishment,
- Transferring goods from a container or display into another container,
- Willfully concealing unpurchased merchandise outside the premises of a merchant store,
- And the use of any instrument (such as false coupons or credit vouchers) that could be used to unlawfully deprive the owner of use or possession of goods.
Criminal penalties for shoplifting are based upon the value of stolen goods. All can result in jail time and significant fines. The following covers the charges and penalties imposed by the state of Connecticut:
- Sixth degree larceny (class C misdemeanor) – shoplifting property with a combined total of $500 or less can result in fines of up to $500 and up to three months in jail;
- Fifth degree larceny (class B misdemeanor) – shoplifting property with a combined total value of more than $500 but less than $1,000 can result in fines of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail;
- Fourth degree larceny (class A misdemeanor) – shoplifting property with a combined total value of more than $1,000 but less than $2,000 can result in fines of up to $2,000 and up to one year in jail;
- Third degree larceny (class D felony) – shoplifting property with a combined total value of more than $2,000 but less than $10,000 can result in fines of up to $5,000 and up to five years in prison;
- Second degree larceny (class C felony) – shoplifting property with a combined total value of more than $10,000 but less than $20,000 can result in fines of up to $10,000 and up to 10 years in prison;
- First degree larceny (class B felony) – shoplifting property with a combined total value of more than $20,000 can result in up to $15,000 in fines and up to 20 years in prison.
In addition to criminal penalties, civil penalties may be sought by the merchant. These can sometimes be even more demanding (and humiliating) than the criminal penalties themselves. Examples of civil penalties include punitive damages, cost of the retail value of the merchandise, costs to cover the lawsuit, and attorney’s fees can all be included in the monetary portion. Credit implications may take effect if the fees are not paid, and a ban from the store may also be imposed.
Do Not Face Larceny Charges Alone
Larceny charges can affect your life for a very long time. However, in order to convict you, the courts must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you wrongfully took, obtained, or withheld property from its owner, and that you did it with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of that property for self-gain. A skilled and experienced defense attorney may be able to help build a case of reasonable doubt, or assist you in setting up an alternative option, such as the Accelerated Pretrial Rehabilitation Program.
With nearly four decades of experience, the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner can provide the skills, resources, and aggressive representation needed to pursue the best possible outcome for your larceny case. To schedule your free initial consultation and discover how much of a difference experience can make, set up your free initial consultation with a Stamford, Connecticut, criminal defense attorney. Call 203-348-5846 today.