The Blanch Law Firm offers extensive experience defending against Shoplifting charges, which is a form of Theft–usually of retail goods. Shoplifting is prosecuted as Petit Larceny when the amount allegedly stolen is less than $1,000 and Grand Larceny when the alleged theft amount is $1,000 or more.
Dedicated, thorough and aggressive, our attorneys–former prosecutors who have worked both sides of the criminal defense bar–know all the “tricks of the trade” and how to use them to produce outcomes favorable to our clients. Negotiators skilled at plea-bargaining with prosecutors, our attorneys also demonstrate superb courtroom skills that have resulted in an unprecedented number of Dismissals of Larceny Cases that have gone to trial.
Shoplifting Charges Require Aggressive Defense
Shoplifting is known by many slang terms, such as “five-finger discount”, “boosting”, “jacking” or “racking” in the US, and as “nicking” or “chaving” in the UK. Within the retail industry, it is referred to more officially as “shrinkage”.
Shoplifting is one of the most common property offenses dealt with in our criminal justice system. Consumer reports indicate that approximately 0.6 percent of all inventory disappears to shoplifters, costing US retailers about $25 million a day. Contrary to popular belief that shoplifting is a petty offense, the crime is taken seriously by police, and no one gets off easily. Consider that:
■Movie Star Winona Ryder was arrested in 2001 for shoplifting at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills, and was originally convicted after a jury trial of Felony Larceny and Vandalism, for which she was sentenced in a nationally-televised California Superior Court proceeding;
■TV actress Shelley Morrison (Will & Grace) was arrested for shoplifting at a Robinsons-May store in California but charges were dropped subsequently;
■White House political aide Claude Allen was arrested for an alleged return scam at a Target store in Maryland, embarrassing the administration of former President George W. Bush.
Retailers Take Shoplifting Seriously
Shoplifting is taken so seriously that store officials may detain for investigation any person whom they have probable cause to believe has unlawfully taken merchandise.
Depending on the state statute, store employees who detain suspects inside the premises have authority to initiate arrest of a shoplifting suspect.
Nowadays, most stores are monitored by closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras. They are often used in conjunction with electronic article surveillance (EAS)–security tags attached to merchandise that cause an alarm to sound on exiting the store. In addition, stores use loss prevention personnel as floorwalkers who pretend to be shopping while mingling and watching closely. Recently, stores selling CDs, DVDs and Video Games have been using “empty cases” for them so that a shoplifter cannot get at the actual item until check-out. Or retailers will use “locking cases”, which can only be opened by the checkout operator once the item has gone through checkout.
A Proactive Approach is the Best Defense Against Shoplifting Charges
The Blanch Law Firm takes a proactive approach to defending those accused of shoplifting–an approach that has often meant the difference between conviction and acquittal. As in the Shelley Morrison case, our expert attorneys can quickly analyze complex fact patterns and apply precedent to get charges dropped. If the case goes to trial, their masterful courtroom skills often lead to dismissal of all charges against our clients.
If you’ve been charged with Shoplifting or any Theft charge, the best thing you can do is obtain experienced criminal defense as quickly as possible.
To discuss your legal options in a free consultation, Contact The Blanch Law Firm by calling (646) 706-7722.