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Defense Strategies in a New York Shoplifting Case

The nature of what a person does and how they commit the act of theft matters when building a defense. The defense strategy in a New York theft case changes in a shoplifting scenario, because a store may have a video, property may have been cataloged and photographed, or another form of record was kept for the merchandise within the store.

Depending on where the item was recovered, a New York attorney will craft an appropriate defense strategy. If you have been charged with such a crime and are looking for legal representation, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. 

A knowledgeable New York theft attorney can help lessen any potential penalties associated with the charge.

Elements of the Case

In the shoplifting setting, an attorney could argue that there was just a misunderstanding and security made the wrong assumption. Further, they can determine if the item in question was on top of the individual’s bag or not.

Also, did the store supply the person with a cart or bag that an individual could put clothes or items in while they shopped? If not, where would the person be expected to put the item? Such elements may be part of the attorney’s defense strategy in their New York shoplifting case.

Even though the law allows a person to be arrested before they exit the store, it is important to determine exactly where they were arrested, and what they said at the time of the arrest. The same elements that apply to clothing items can apply to food as well. A person may forget that they put something on the bottom of the cart, for example.

Shoplifting is usually, if not always, a physical item. Where it is, how law enforcement is alleging the person did it, how long the person was in the store, whether they damaged it, if they changed the price, and further elements can determine the appropriate defense strategies in a New York shoplifting case.

The specific factor associated with a shoplifting case is the fact that it must take place in a retail environment.

Mitigation Process

To mitigate, an attorney will determine who the person is, the potential consequences they may be facing, if they are a student or visa holder, and similar elements. In these situations, an attorney will need to build up a storyline to provide an effective defense strategy in an individual’s New York shoplifting case.

If the crime was a general petit larceny such as from a neighbor, friend, or in a non-shoplifting context, there may be no video evidence. Often, there is no genuine or authenticated record of what was stolen or a receipt produced to establish the value of the item.

Sometimes, in non-shoplifting scenarios, it is more of a “he said, she said” type argument where it can be easier to poke holes in the allegations. The accusing individual may have some sort of vendetta against the accused, which can be brought forward as a defense strategy in a New York theft case.

Theft at a Grocery Store

Attorneys have represented many people who claim they may have forgotten an item was underneath their cart and failed to pay for it. Sometimes, it is a genuine accident, and other times it is blatant shoplifting.

Other times, people will simply hide food in their clothes, pay for only some items, or consume the food in the process. Grazing, such as eating bits of food while shopping, are rarely charged as shoplifting. Depending on the circumstances, an experienced attorney can craft an effective New York shoplifting defense strategy to help minimize any consequences an individual may be facing.

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