Shoplifting may sound like a minor charge, but a criminal record is never a laughing matter. It can come back to haunt you for years, affecting your ability to get certain jobs, find housing, or obtain custody of your children. A shoplifting conviction can even destroy your credit and bank account. If you have been charged with shoplifting, or any form of theft, contact a Boston defense attorney today.
Was it a Mistake?
Getting caught “red handed” can be embarrassing, especially if the shoplifting accusation is a mistake. If you were not charged for an item or the cashier neglected to remove the sensor from a garment of clothing, you could find yourself unfairly accused of stealing. If you wish to fight the charges against you, the first step is to hire a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
In Massachusetts, shoplifting is included under criminal larceny statutes, which make the act of taking property without permission a crime. But will a shoplifting conviction go on your criminal record? The answer to this question is generally dependent on the severity of the charge. If the item you were attempting to steal was of exceptionally little value, such as a pack of gum, and there were no aggravating circumstances, you will likely receive a criminal citation. This may not go on your criminal record. However, if you are caught shoplifting three Macbooks, you will likely be charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense. In the second scenario, the conviction will definitely show up on your criminal record.
A shoplifting conviction can cost more than fines, jail time, and a criminal record. It may also ruin your credit. In many cases, a shoplifter will receive a civil demand letter which requires them to reimburse the store for what they stole or damaged. This is in addition to the fines associated with the crime itself. If the shoplifter refuses, or is unable to pay, he or she may receive a negative civil judgment. This could, in turn, affect his or her credit. If you are facing shoplifting charges, contact a MA defense attorney today.
The penalties for shoplifting vary widely, but the guidelines below provide a good indication of the penalties you might face if you get caught shoplifting:
- Shoplifting merchandise valued at less than $100: With no prior offenses, you will likely only receive a fine of up to $250.
- Shoplifting merchandise valued at up to $100 with no more than one prior offense: A fine of up to $500.
- Shoplifting merchandise valued at up to $100 with at least two prior offenses: Up to two years in jail and a fine of up to $500.
- Shoplifting merchandise valued at more than $100: Up to two-and-a-half years in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Shoplifting charges don’t always result in a conviction. By working with a skilled defense attorney, your chances of reduced or dismissed charges are greatly improved. There are many defenses against shoplifting charges, including a mistake made by the store, a mistake made by a witness, or failure to prove all elements of the shoplifting charge.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Premier Criminal Defense Law Firm
At Altman & Altman, LLP, we have extensive experience with all types of theft charges, including shoplifting. We know how to position you for the best possible outcome. It is our goal to keep you out of jail, and to keep your record clean. If you have been charged with shoplifting, we will analyze the details of your case to determine the best strategy for moving forward. Our skilled, knowledgeable attorneys will make sure you understand your rights and options. If you’ve been charged with any type of crime, from shoplifting to manslaughter, we can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.