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Do shoplifting penalties differ based on item values in New York?

People who are facing allegations of shoplifting in the state might not realize that a criminal conviction can have long-term consequences with the penalties largely hinging on the value of what was taken. This state classifies shoplifting as larceny. If a person takes the property of another and intends to deprive that other person of the property, it falls into this category. The allegations can be increased based on the circumstances. If, for example, the person entered an establishment specifically to commit larceny and had certain tools to do so, there can be a commercial burglary charge. It is important to understand the difference.

The value of the items is key when charged with shoplifting as this will determine the level of charges filed. If it is an item that is worth $1,000 or less, it will be a Class A misdemeanor, petit larceny with up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 for a conviction. If it is an item worth between $1,000 and $3,000, it is a Class E felony and grand larceny in the fourth degree with up to four years in prison a fine of up to $5,000 or twice the gain from the theft, whichever is larger.

If it is an item worth between $3,000 and $5,000, it is a Class D felony and is grand larceny in the third degree with up to seven years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000 or twice the gain from the theft, whichever is more. For items that are worth $50,000 to $1 million, it is a Class C felony and grand larceny in the second degree with up to 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000 or double the gain, whichever is more. And for items worth more than $1 million, it is a Class B felony and grand larceny in the first degree with up to 25 years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000 or double the gain, whichever is more.

The heftier charges and penalties might not be immediately associated with shoplifting, but people who are accused of stealing might have done so not knowing its worth and will face accompanying penalties even if they were unaware of what they were facing. Shoplifting can lead to major problems in a person's life if there is a conviction regardless of whether it is a juvenile or an adult. These charges should not be downplayed. Having legal assistance from an experienced lawyer who understands all aspects of criminal defense is essential.

Source: FindLaw.com, "New York Shoplifting Laws," accessed on Jan. 22, 2018

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