Without a proper defense, being charged with shoplifting in Norfolk or Bristol County is a crime that can follow a person for many years. Unfortunately, defendants sometimes decide to quickly plead guilty in an effort to put the embarrassing incident behind them. We believe that is a mistake. Being convicted of shoplifting can have long-term consequences, including difficulty in obtaining employment in a wide range of jobs that involve either money or merchandise.
Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney Michael DelSignore has the knowledge and experience to aggressively fight shoplifting and larceny charges. Sometimes, a thorough review of the case will permit the evidence to be challenged because of an illegal search or other legal issue. Successfully arguing for a reduction or dismissal of the charges can prevent you from having a criminal conviction on your record. In other cases, building a defense for trial and forcing the state to attempt to prove its case is the best course of action.
Massachusetts Shoplifting Law (Chapter 266 Section 30A), makes it illegal to “intentionally conceal, take possession of, carry away, transfer or cause to be carried away” any merchandise without paying the merchant. The law also covers label-switching and other means of obtaining merchandise for less than retail value.Massachusetts Shoplifting & Larceny Laws
- Shoplifting less than $100: Fine of up to $250 for first offense; $500 for second offense; up to two years in jail for a third offense.
- Shoplifting more than $100: Up to 2 ½ years in jail and a $1,000 fine.
- Larceny under $250: Up to one year in jail and a $300 fine.
- Larceny over $250: Felony offense carrying a penalty of up to 5 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
Source: Massachusetts Law
In addition to shoplifting, law enforcement may also charge a defendant with larceny in some cases. Generally, larceny carries the potential for a stiffer penalty if convicted. The value of the items involved can also significantly impact the penalty for either a Massachusetts shoplifting or larceny charge. By successfully challenging the value of the items, an experienced attorney can often seek a significant reduction of charges.
Probable cause is another area where a Massachusetts defense lawyer can frequently challenge shoplifting charges. Inappropriate actions of store employees, store security guards or police officers may be grounds for having a shoplifting charge dismissed. Inappropriate detention, or the search and seizure of your shopping bags or vehicle, may also be grounds for a legal challenge that can result in the reduction or dismissal of charges.
The important message here is that it costs you nothing to consult with an experienced and well-qualified attorney, while going it along and pleading out can be a mistake that follows you for years. Do yourself the favor of at least speaking with an attorney before making any decisions.
Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael DelSignore represents clients facing shoplifting and larceny charges throughout Massachusetts. Call today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. The Law Offices of Michael DelSignore are located in Stoughton, Attleboro, Braintree and Westborough.