Seeing something you want and wanting to get it right away is a normal human thought. Acting on that impulse when you don’t have the money to buy the item can land you in legal trouble. When you take something from a store or shop and don’t pay for it, you are shoplifting. This is a type of theft charge that requires serious attention. Consider these points if you are facing shoplifting charges in New York.
You don’t have to take the merchandise
Many people think that you have to take the merchandise without paying anything in order for an act to be considered shoplifting. This isn’t the case. You can also face shoplifting charges if you change the price on an item to a lower price, such as if you pull a sale sticker from one item and place it on another item. You can also face shoplifting charges if you hide an item, or conceal it, even if you are still in the store. One of the main points in a shoplifting case is that you intended to deprive the rightful owner, which would be the store or shop owner, from having the item or receiving the payment required for the item.
You can face a felony or misdemeanor
The value of the merchandise has a big impact on the type of charges you might face for shoplifting. The type of merchandise matters, as well. For example, you are likely to face more severe charges if you take a firearm than what you would face if you took an electronic item of the same approximate value. It is possible for a person to face misdemeanor charges or felony charges for shoplifting. Petit larceny is a misdemeanor, but grand larceny is a felony. You can also face a fine from the retailer that is up to five times the value of the merchandise up to a maximum of $500.
You might be detained in some cases
The issue of a private citizen detaining a person accused of shoplifting is something that has been an area of contention. Some retailers think that detaining suspected shoplifters is perfectly fine; however, that isn’t always the case. Recently, an injunction against Macy’s was issued that prevents these New York stores from detaining or fining shoplifting suspects outside of the law. This injunction was in response to a class action lawsuit claiming that the department store had an internal jail that included cells. The filing alleged that the retail giant was forcing suspected shoplifters to pay the fine and coercing them into signing a confession before releasing them and contacting authorities.