As a New York shoplifting criminal defense attorney and former Manhattan prosecutor, I have encountered almost every form of shoplifting (New York Penal Law 155.25 – Petit Larceny and New York Penal Law 165.40 – Criminal Possession of Stolen Property). Whether the accused is arrested and issued a shoplifting Desk Appearance Ticket or put through the system, the way it unfolds is often the same. While I have blogged extensively on New York shoplifting laws, this entry will address potential offers made by prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for shoplifting crimes. The overriding factor, beyond whether one has a record, is the value of the property stolen. The following is a list of common offers for first time offenders. However, it is critical to note that offer guiltiness change.
Shoplifting for Approximately $100 or Less
Generally, prosecutors will move for an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal or ACD. This means that six months from the time the deal is accepted, the case will be dismissed and sealed. The accused will not have a criminal record. Often times one or two days of community service is required.
Shoplifting in Excess of $100, But Less Than $500
Prosecutors may move for an ACD or offer a Disorderly Conduct (New York Penal Law 240.20) violation when the amount is closer to the $100 mark than the $500 amount. Once the amount gets close to $500 or more, the offer may be a misdemeanor (this will be discussed below). A violation, but not a crime, Disorderly Conduct pleas will not result in a criminal record. However, it is critical to note that while this violation will seal, it is far from atypical to have the arrest and ultimate plea “pop” on a background check. In other words, when you apply for a job and your employer does their due diligence, they may discover your Petit Larceny or Criminal Possession of Stolen Property arrest. Obviously, the ramifications are huge. I have been contacted numerous times by people who pleaded to Disorderly Conduct years earlier and later find out their arrest from college is popping up. A quick search of the internet may reveal or story or two about lawsuits brought to prevent the State from disseminating this information. Does it happen every time? No. Can it happen in your case? Maybe. It is imperative to vet the collateral issues of a violation plea prior to pleading guilty. Don’t make a hasty decision with potentially life long consequences because you merely want to get the case over with.
Community service is often required, but the amount of time or days is more than where the prosecution moves for an ACD.
Shoplifting in Excess of Approximately $500 to $1000
Once you creep up to the neighborhood of $500, the charge of Petit Larceny or Criminal Possession of Stolen Property gets much more serious. Here, prosecutors often offer the “B” misdemeanor of Attempted Petit Larceny or Attempted Shoplifting. Make no mistake. This is a crime. That is, if you are convicted of this offense or plea to this crime, you will have a criminal record. Not only will you have to tell employers if they ask, but a background check will reveal such a disposition. The ramifications to one’s career and livelihood are tremendous. Before even considering such a plea, you such have an in depth legal discussion with your criminal lawyer.
What Should YOU Do if Arrested or Given a Desk Appearance Ticket for Shoplifting
No New York criminal defense attorney has the antidote to make a shoplifting arrest just disappear. The above scenarios are not written in stone and are certainly subject to change. Maybe an offer will be made at arraignments (first time you see the judge) of an ACD at $400 or maybe not. Then again, even if it is, do you want to accept it? If not, should your New York criminal defense lawyer file legal motions or waive those motions in an attempt to “beat” the case procedurally? Even assuming you want to waive motions, is it really advisable? What is this procedural way to fight the case? If you fail to take the steps at your arraignment, can you obtain the benefits of doing so at a later date? What are your legal and or factual defenses? When do you need to implement them? If the offer you are seeking is not made, its it one that is attainable?
While the above paragraph is not advice and certainly does not answer anything about your particular case, the message is clear. Before merely going to court and taking any type of plea or deal (assuming that is even what you want or should do), consult with a New York criminal defense lawyer with experience not only handling they offense you are accused of, but can explain the collateral consequences of what you might incorrectly think is a good result.
For extensive information on New York Theft Crimes, including shoplifting, please follow the link to Saland Law PC’s Theft Offense Section of the New York Criminal Lawyer Blog (NewYorkCriminalLawyerBlog.Com) or our sister website at NewYorkTheftAndLarcenyLawyers.Com. Other information including New York Penal Law statutes, legal decisions and newsworthy cases can be found on the blog.
Saland Law PC is a New York criminal defense firm founded by two former Manhattan prosecutors. Having represented doctors, lawyers, finance professionals, teachers and other individuals for shoplifting, our New York criminal defense lawyers represent defendants charged with Petit Larceny and Criminal Possession of Stolen property throughout the New York City region.