When shoplifting is prosecuted in New York State, it is usually written up as a violation of the statue for “Petit Larceny,” or “PL 155.25.” Petit Larceny is a misdemeanor in The State of New York and is punishable by up to one year in jail. In the event that the value of the goods that were stolen is over $1,000.00, charges of “Grand Larceny in the 4th Degree” can be seen in the place of petit larceny. Aside from the difference in names, the two big differences between petit larceny and grand larceny are: Grand larceny is a felony in New York State. Felonies have much more serious criminal penalties and potential for an adverse impact to someone’s career and criminal record.
Surprising as it may seem, most of the clients of The Blanch Law Firm who are charged with shoplifting, do not commit the crime because they were unable to purchase the items they are accused of stealing. Our clients come to us because they have made two errors in judgment and can’t afford to put themselves at the mercy of the courts. The first error they made was ignoring the voice in their head that told them not to take what they are accused of taking. The second error is that they thought nothing bad would happen to them if they got caught; they would only get a slap on the wrist. We all make errors in judgment; we have too much to drink at dinner, we cheat on our diets, we make white lies to our families to spare them the pain of confronting their shortcomings. Sometimes we get caught in these errors of judgment, sometimes we don’t. The difference is that having too much to drink at dinner can only come back to haunt you with a hangover the next day, getting caught shoplifting can haunt you with having a criminal record for the rest of your life.
Unlike drinking, where you are stuck with the hangover no matter what remedy you try to escape it, it is possible to escape the adverse effects that can result from charges of shoplifting. The best way to make sure that you do not let you momentary error in judgment haunt you for the rest of your life is by hiring a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights. The Criminal Defense Attorneys at The Blanch Law Firm have decades of experience protecting their clients from charges that stem from incidents of shoplifting. We have been able to secure non-jail disposition, where our clients have no criminal record on a staggering proportion of our cases.
Many times the police or security guards at a store will trick you into signing a confession by playing off your fears and telling you that everything is alright and that you can go home if you sign the confession. This couldn’t be further than the truth. While signing a confession may in that instance result in you getting to leave with a summons to come back to court at a later date, it is very often the case that defendants who do not sign confessions will also be released without having to post bail (unless they have a criminal record). If you have watched any crime drama on television you will notice that the episode usually ends once the criminal has signed a confession. In reality, there is much that a skilled criminal defense attorney can do to defend their client even after they have signed a confession.