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What are the elements of shoplifting in New York?

Shopping is a staple of New York City life, and as a result, stores have to deal with a great deal of shoplifting. If you have been accused of shoplifting, the prosecutor on your case will have to prove a number of elements in order to convict you. You and your defense attorney can work together to come up with ways to dispute the prosecutor's arguments and avoid conviction.

In legal terms, shoplifting is often referred to larceny or theft. The prosecutor will attempt to prove that you wrongfully took, obtained, or withheld property belonging to someone else. They must also prove that when you took these items with the intent to deprive the person, store, or other entity of property. Prosecutors will often present evidence such as surveillance footage, witness testimony, and security officer testimony to establish these elements. The value of the items you allegedly took will typically determine the severity of your charges and consequences, if you are convicted. The higher the value of the items, the more severe your consequences

In order to defend against shoplifting, you will generally have to establish one or more of the following: you did not take the items in question, you had a valid claim to the items you took, or you took the items without the requisite intent. For example, if you tried on a hat at the store and forgot to take it off before leaving, your strategy may be to prove that you did not have the intent to steal the hat.

Without an adequate defense, you could be convicted of petit larceny or grand larceny and face jail time and hefty fines. You may want to consult with a criminal defense attorney to review your case and come up with a strategy to defend against the charges you are facing.

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

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