Allegations involving shoplifting are among the most common criminal cases in Norwich courts. Unlike in many other states, the law in Connecticut does not create a different charge for shoplifting. You face charges under the larger umbrella of theft if you are accused of stealing from a store.
Shoplifting charges can be difficult to understand. An accusation that you took steps to steal an item can lead to criminal charges, even if you never removed items from the store. A Norwich shoplifting lawyer at Ruane Attorneys can help you understand the law and contest the allegations against you. Our theft attorneys can investigate the reason for your arrest and explain the possible consequences of a conviction. We could then work toward a plea bargain with the prosecutor or prepare to present a defense at trial.
Shoplifting is a Form of Theft Under State Law
Connecticut has no statute describing the actions people commonly associate with shoplifting. Instead, charges for allegedly stealing from a store will proceed under the state’s theft statute.
According to Connecticut General Statute § 53a-119, one definition of theft involves taking property to deprive the owner of using that item. Taking property from a store without paying certainly falls under this definition. Other acts within a store could also violate this statute.
For example, concealing an item under a coat could constitute a step toward stealing that item. Whether this is sufficient to justify a conviction for theft is a question for a jury. A Norwich attorney at our firm could build a tailored defense to shoplifting allegations.
Penalties for Shoplifting in Norwich
Shoplifting has the reputation of being a minor, annoying criminal charge that affects only teenagers. However, those facing these charges should know prosecutors have the full authority to pursue maximum penalties. This can include heavy fines and even jail sentences.
Misdemeanor Charges for Stealing from a Store
In most cases, shoplifting is a misdemeanor. This applies when the value of the items involved is less than $2,000. Here, a conviction will likely result in a probation sentence and fines. However, prosecutors can seek a jail sentence of up to one year.
Felony Shoplifting Charges
Shoplifting becomes more serious when the value of the items increases. If the items have a value of above $2,000, the law counts the offense as a felony. This means a court can impose a jail sentence of at least one year upon conviction. The most extreme examples could result in a prison sentence of 20 years. Our local shoplifting lawyers could develop defense strategies that limit the potential penalties or work to secure an acquittal.
Reach Out to a Norwich Shoplifting Attorney Today
Charges for allegedly stealing from a store can impact your life in many ways. A conviction will appear on your criminal record, even if you agree to a suspended sentence or a diversionary program. You could also face jail time and significant fines.
Let a Norwich shoplifting lawyer help you avoid these penalties and protect your future. At Ruane Attorneys, we can work to determine the reason for your arrest. Our legal team can examine witness statements, security camera footage, and other evidence to find weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. With this information, we could present a strong defense on your behalf. Contact our firm now to learn more.