If you are accused of taking merchandise from a store in New York City, you will likely be charged with Petit Larceny and Possession of Stolen Property which are misdemeanors under the New York Penal Law. Conviction of a misdemeanor will mean a criminal record and potential future problems concerning immigration status, school applications, job applications and professional licensing. Hiring an attorney to make efforts to avoid the direct and collateral consequences of a criminal record is important in a shoplifting prosecution. Depending on the circumstances, detention by store security personnel may result in arrest by the New York City Police Department or issuance of a Desk Appearance Ticket by the NYPD.
Additionally, the New York City store where the alleged theft occurred may have a civil claim against the accused under the New York General Obligations Law which provides for imposition of civil liability based upon proof by a preponderance of the evidence for damages in the amount of "the retail price of the merchandise if not recovered in merchantable condition up to an amount not to exceed fifteen hundred dollars" and a penalty not to exceed five hundred dollars. Should you wish to discuss a shoplifting case with a New York City shoplifting attorney, please call the Law Offices of Daniel A. Hochheiser (212) 689-4343 for a consultation to learn about your legal options concerning both criminal and civil matters.