Connecticut Courts and the State’s Attorneys take shoplifting charges seriously and prosecute them with uniformity. Most top Norwalk criminal defense lawyers will agree that one of the most frequently charged crimes in Norwalk is shoplifting. Kohl’s, Bob’s Stores, and Best Buy are super aggressive on loss prevention in Norwalk and will pursue shoplifting charges no matter how inexpensive the amount of the item stolen is. Being arrested for shoplifting is a very embarrassing and stressful experience. If you have been charged with shoplifting it is important to hire a top Norwalk shoplifting attorney to take prompt action to defend your rights and get the charges dismissed if possible. Not everyone who is arrested for shoplifting is guilty. The crime requires proof of an intention to steal something which often is lacking where an item is mistakenly or absent mindedly removed from the store. Stores today are outfitted with sophisticated surveillance systems which may have captured footage that could help prove your innocence. In those situations it is important to take immediate action to have that exculpatory evidence preserved before the store records over it or it is lost. Due to the relatively inexpensive values of many of the items which are alleged to have been stolen in shoplifting arrests many clients feel like it is a very minor crime and don’t take it seriously. However, under Connecticut law there is no separate crime for shoplifting. All thefts are classified as “larceny.” Having an arrest and conviction for larceny on your record is going to have a really adverse effect on your future ability to seek employment and housing in the future. Also, a conviction for shoplifting even at the least serious level can carry the possibility of jail time and probation. That is why you should seek the services of a compassionate and aggressive attorney with 25 years of experience in defending shoplifting charges in Norwalk on your side. Call the Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman today to for a free consultation and to review the options to get your shoplifting case quickly and cost effectively resolved.
As amazon.com has dominated shopping in the modern age traditional stores and malls are under increasing pressure to stay alive. Huge investments in loss prevention units and video surveillance equipment have been made in an effort to trim losses due to stolen goods. As a result there has been a dramatic increase in shoplifting arrests throughout the State of Connecticut. In some situations people have been wrongfully accused of shoplifting. For example leaving a store and mistakenly forgetting to pay for one item due to the distraction of a child is not a crime. Larceny or shoplifting requires an intention to steal which is an element of the crime which must be proven by the state. Norwalk shoplifting defense attorney Allan F. Friedman will aggressively defend your rights and review every possibility to have the charges against you reduced or dismissed.Shoplifting Investigations
When you are arrested for shoplifting things happen a little differently than your typical arrest. In a shoplifting arrest you are usually initially detained and questioned by the store’s loss prevention team who will use force if needed to apprehend you. These loss prevention agents will try to act “like” Police officers are try and get your identification, take pictures of you and interrogate you all while they have you detained and unable to leave. Remember, just as with the Police you do not have to answer any questions. You have the right to ask to speak with a Norwalk shoplifting defense attorney before answering any questions. Whatever you say to these loss prevention agents will not help you as have already contacted the Norwalk Police who are already on their way to effectuate an arrest for larceny. When the police get there do not discuss any details of the crime. Anything you say can and will be used against you. Do not be tricked by slick police promises to “go easy on you if you work with them.” All they are doing is filling in the blanks on the arrest paperwork and everything you tell them will be used against you. If you admit stealing then that gives the State and airtight case against you. Your best course of action is to retain an experienced Norwalk shoplifting attorney to develop a plan to defend you against the allegations and work to have the charges reduced or dismissed.What Is Shoplifting?
As discussed above there is no specific crime in Connecticut for shoplifting. Rather Connecticut has a general crime of larceny to cover many different types of theft crime situations. Usually, most shoplifting cases involve larceny in the 6th degree but if the value of the items stolen exceeds $500 it would be larceny in the 5th degree. Therefore, the level or degree of seriousness of the larceny case depends on the value of the item(s) stolen and not on the way in which the goods were taken. Larceny is defined in C.G.S. Section 53a-119 which states that larceny is acting with a mental “intent to deprive another of property or to appropriate the same to himself or a third person, he wrongfully takes, obtains or withholds such property from an owner.” Some varieties of shoplifting include:
- Removing merchandise from a place of business with the intention of leaving and not paying
- Hiding unpaid merchandise upon your person or in a bag inside a store
- Changing or taking off price tags
- Not properly ringing items at self -checkout lanes
- Making fraudulent returns of stolen goods to receive cash or credit from the store
As stated above, the level of degree of the crime of larceny which will be charge is based solely on the value of the goods alleged to have been stolen and not on the method used to steal the goods. A shoplifting arrest can range from on the low end from a minor class C misdemeanor, which is the lowest level criminal offense in Connecticut, for which you would face up to 3 months in jail and or a $500 fine and the penalties go all the way to a Class B Felony which is a very serious crime for which you could be exposed to up to 20 years in prison and or a $15,000 fine. This chart shows the relationship between the value of the items stolen and the level of larceny that would apply in your case:
|Deg.||Value of Property||Classification of Crime|
|First||Over $20,000||Class B felony|
|Second||Over $10,000||Class C felony|
|Third||Over $2,000||Class D felony|
|Fourth||Over $1,000||Class A misdemeanor|
|Fifth||Over $500||Class B misdemeanor|
|Sixth||Up to $500||Class C misdemeanor|
Whichever degree of larceny or shoplifting you have been arrested for, let our 25 years of experience in shoplifting defense in Norwalk go to work on your behalf to obtain the very best possible outcome for your case.Resolution of Shoplifting Charges
In many scenarios shoplifters are first time criminal offenders who have never been in trouble with the law before. I have seen a pattern after handling hundreds of shoplifting cases that in many situations people accused of shoplifting can be undergoing some very difficult life stress factors which could have had an effect on their level of concentration and thought process on the date of the arrest. In these circumstances often the shoplifting arrest is the client’s first encounter with the criminal justice system in an otherwise law abiding life. Often in these cases we can document the stress factors that the client was dealing with (e.g. death in the family; illness; depression, etc.) and use this information to present an effective argument to the State’s Attorney for mitigation and negotiate a dismissal or reduction in the charges in exchange for a charitable donation or community service hours.
A more common choice for the resolution of shoplifting charges for first time offenders is the use of a diversionary program called the Accelerated Rehabilitation Program. For more information about how this program works please visit this guide which explains the entire process in great detail. The accelerated rehabilitation program is a great choice because you do not have to admit guilt, when you apply for the program your file is sealed to the public and upon successful completion of the program all the charges are dismissed. This is a great outcome. The only disadvantage is that you can only use this program once every ten years so most Norwalk shoplifting defense lawyers would only use it as a last report after trying every other option to work out alternative resolutions with the State’s Attorney without having to “burn” your Accelerated Rehabilitation Program on such a minor offense. As a result of the negative stigma associated with any larceny charge or conviction (which is a public record) and the detrimental effects that such a record will have upon your ability to search for future employment, securing a lease and any other life opportunities that would require a criminal background check it is important that we secure a dismissal of all the charges against you if possible.Prior Shoplifting / Larceny Convictions – Persistent Larceny Offenders
For anyone who is arrested in Norwalk for shoplifting who may have a prior criminal history of larceny obviously the defense strategy is going to be different than for first time offenders who have no criminal history. Our State has some very severe enhanced penalties for those who have previous larceny convictions. For offenders who have a criminal history including two prior larceny convictions, then if you were to be convicted of a third offense you would face a serve enhanced penalty known as “persistent larceny offender.” This enhancement is up to the discretion of the State’s Attorney and would expose you to a charge of a D felony level offense and punishable by up to five years in jail. In these situations, you obviously want a very experienced Norwalk larceny defense attorney fighting on your side to present strong arguments of mitigation in your favor to convince the State’s Attorney not to enhance the penalty and charge you as a persistent larceny offender. When representing larceny offenders with a previous history of criminal convictions, this leaves us less options in the way of negotiation to get the case dismissed so we have to start to look to the facts of the case itself to see what defenses may exist to the allegations themselves. As mentioned before “intent” is a difficult mental element for the State to prove at trial. Was there any violation of your Constitutional rights which would provide a basis upon which to support a motion to suppress evidence or statements illegally obtained by police? Those who have prior larceny convictions are facing the potential of greater exposure of jail time, you need should contact an experienced Norwalk shoplifting defense attorney who knows how to organize an effective defense strategy, fight to protect your freedom, and if possible work with the State’s Attorney to get a reduction in the charges. Our strategy is to use every means available under the law to have the allegations against you dismissed entirely if possible or significantly reduce the charges.Why Choose the Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman?
- Arrests don’t take place during business hours so we are available 24/7
- 25 years of experience defending Norwalk shoplifting arrests
- We will work hard to defend your liberty and keep you informed about the progress of your case
- Free initial consultations
- We offer reasonable rates and when needed payment plans
- We provide personalized attention and our office is a judgment free zone – he are here to help you
If you have been charged with a shoplifting offense in Fairfield County, Allan F. Friedman is able to answer your questions and develop a strong strategy to defend you. He provides each of his clients with personal attention and clear communication, and his rates are reasonable and he offers payment plans. Norwalk shoplifting defense attorney Allan F. Friedman also represents people in Stamford, Bridgeport, Weston, Westport, Fairfield, Wilton, Cos Cob, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, and Greenwich, among other Connecticut cities. Our office is conveniently located right off exit 13 on Richards Avenue in Norwalk. We also have an office located in downtown Stamford one block from the Stamford Police Station. Call us at (203) 847-2000 or contact us via our online form to schedule an appointment. Attorney Friedman also is available to assist you if you need a drug crime lawyer or representation in fighting charges related to drunk driving, assault, domestic violence, disorderly conduct, and many other crimes.