It’s easy to convince yourself that everyone in jail deserves their fate when you are free and able to meet your obligations. But not all people charged with theft or property crimes have bad motives in mind. In fact, some appear to be in a bad situation because of a previous one.
Some cases of petty larceny, a charge used an average of 20,000 times in New York City alone, result from people who felt they had no choice but to steal a meal or a needed supply. This is especially true when people have been released from jail or offered no resources to move on after an early life in the foster care system.
“These are crimes of poverty that should be met with compassion and social services, not the punitive weight of the district attorney’s office,” said an attorney who often handled these cases. “Prosecutors, unfortunately, ignore the underlying causes.”
Prosecutors have much of the power to drop petty larceny cases, which often happens in Kings County. Some suspects in Queens and elsewhere in the city are offered the chance to enter recovery programs or other chances to work towards dismissed charges. Repeat offenders, however, may face stricter penalties sought by district attorneys.
If you are facing charges related to theft, robbery or shoplifting, you always have the right to representation by an attorney during questioning, court appearances or negotiation with prosecutors. No one should have to face criminal charges alone. An attorney may make it easier to work out the best possible deal or claim innocence before a jury.