Rather than defining it as a separate criminal offense, the Connecticut Penal Code treats shoplifting similarly to most other forms of larceny. However, there are unique aspects to contesting a shoplifting charge in criminal court. Courts approach these cases in several specific ways, making it essential to work with an attorney working in the local legal system.
Representation from Ruane Attorneys is crucial to proactively pursue a positive outcome in your case. By hiring a Shelton shoplifting lawyer to help build and execute your defense strategy, you could improve your odds of achieving a favorable final result.
How State Law Addresses Shoplifting
Connecticut General Statutes §53a-119(9) defines “shoplifting” as intentionally taking possession of any merchandise or other property from a retail store without paying the listed price and intending to convert the property for personal use. Under this same section of state law, someone intentionally concealing unpurchased retail merchandise on their person may face charges for intent to shoplift.
Degrees of Shoplifting in Shelton
C.G.S. §§53a-122 through 53a-125b set out six “degrees” of larceny that a person in Connecticut may be charged with. These offenses are differentiated based on the total value of goods allegedly taken:
- Under $500 – sixth-degree larceny, a class C misdemeanor
- Between $500 and $1,000 – fifth-degree larceny, a class B misdemeanor
- Between $1,000 and $2,000 – fourth-degree larceny, a class A misdemeanor
- Between $2,000 and $10,000 – third-degree larceny, a class D felony
- Between $10,000 and $20,000 – second-degree larceny, a class C felony
- Over $20,000 – first-degree larceny, a class B felony
Someone with a history of convictions for misdemeanor larceny may be classified as a persistent offender, meaning that any subsequent misdemeanor larceny charge may be prosecuted as a class D felony. A local shoplifting attorney could further explain the potential penalties and defense strategies for each type of larceny charge.
Unique Aspects of Shoplifting Charges
In addition to whatever penalties are imposed in criminal court, anyone convicted of shoplifting in Connecticut may also be civilly liable to the rightful owner of the property for financial damages. Store owners also have the legal authority under C.G.S. §53a-119a to temporarily detain people they suspect of shoplifting until police arrive and to request basic identifying information like the suspect’s name and address.
Furthermore, C.G.S. §53a-127f makes it a class A misdemeanor for someone who demonstrates an intent to shoplift to possess any item, tool, or device built to circumvent theft detection or inventory control devices. As a shoplifting lawyer in Shelton could explain, a person can be prosecuted for and convicted of this offense even if they do not actually attempt to shoplift anything using the illicit device in question.
Get in Touch with a Shelton Shoplifting Attorney Today
Shoplifting is not a charge you should take lightly. Depending on the value of the goods you allegedly took, you may face felony-level consequences, even if this is your first time in any legal trouble. A conviction can have severe consequences for your future and prospects.
Regardless of your specific circumstances, support from a Shelton shoplifting lawyer could be vital to protecting your rights. Call Ruane Attorneys today to set up a meeting.