Although many see shoplifting as a minor allegation, it is still important to take these charges seriously. A conviction for a first-time misdemeanor offense could result in a jail sentence. More serious allegations can lead to felony shoplifting charges that continue to impact you for years.
Work with an attorney to bring the strongest possible defense against shoplifting charges. A Manchester shoplifting lawyer at Ruane Attorneys could provide more information about the relevant laws, gather important evidence, discuss realistic goals, and protect your rights throughout the legal proceedings.
Shoplifting Laws in Manchester
Shoplifting is a form of theft. Specifically, it describes various illegal actions with the intent of taking property from a store or other commercial property. Connecticut General Statute § 53a-119 includes taking property from a store without paying as an example of theft.
However, a person does not need to take property from a store without paying to meet the definition of shoplifting. A person may face shoplifting charges for:
- Charging the price of goods to another’s name without that person’s permission
- Paying less than the true price by altering, changing, or swapping price tags
- Transferring goods from one container to another
- Concealing goods on one’s person
In each of these examples, a prosecutor must prove that the defendant took these actions with the intent to steal the items. An attorney at our firm could provide more information about the legal definition of shoplifting and work to contest the prosecution’s allegations.
Helping People Avoid Shoplifting Convictions
Shoplifting convictions can change a person’s life. Under the statute, the severity of the penalties depends upon the dollar value of the items involved in the incident. At a minimum, a conviction is a misdemeanor when the value of the items involved is below $2,000. This means that a court may fine a guilty person up to $2,000, require them to spend up to one year in jail, or both.
If the value of the items rises to more than $2,000, the offense is a felony. Here, convictions will label a person as a felon and may result in a sentence of at least one year. The most extreme examples can bring prison sentences of as long as 25 years.
A Manchester shoplifting lawyer could help people avoid these severe outcomes. An attorney can work to dispute the idea that the defendant took steps toward committing theft in a store. Legal counsel could examine security camera footage and talk with witnesses to defeat an allegation of concealment or price altering. They could also cross-examine store workers to challenge their recollection of the incident and create reasonable doubt during a trial.
Contact a Manchester Shoplifting Attorney Today
Allegations of shoplifting can result from various circumstances. By state law, it is illegal to take any action with the intent to steal items from a store. This could include allegations of altering price tags, placing items under a coat, or working with another person to distract a store worker.
Because of this broad definition, it is vital to tailor a strong defense strategy to the specific accusations. A Manchester shoplifting lawyer could help from day one to protect your legal rights, explain the laws that pertain to your case, and promote effective defenses during every court session. Call Ruane Attorneys today to get started.