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Stamford Shoplifting Arrests - Frequently Asked Questions

Man Shoplifting The Stamford criminal lawyers at the Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman have been defending clients accused of shoplifting for over 25 years in Stamford and throughout Connecticut. We are ready to fight to defend your rights and work to get the charges against you dismissed or achieve the most favorable outcome possible. If you have been arrested for shoplifting, this has probably been a very stressful and horrifying experience for you. We have compassion and empathy for what you are experiencing, and we are here to help you put this behind you with five-star customer service. If you have been arrested for shoplifting, you should contact Stamford shoplifting attorney Allan Friedman at The Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman for a free consultation today!

According to the most recent United States Census, Stamford has a median family income of $103,000 per family. Many of our clients who have been arrested for shoplifting did not have to shoplift due to economic necessity. In many cases, psychological factors can play a role in the cause of shoplifting arrests. Often clients may be experiencing stressful live events such as the loss of a loved one, or marital problems that cause them to lose focus or seek some thrilling escape from their problems.

In other situations, we have seen many clients who are wrongfully accused of shoplifting who had no intention of stealing. The loss prevention agents that investigate shoplifting cases in Stamford are under a tremendous amount of stress to show results and apprehend a lot of shoplifters to meet their quotas. In some cases, innocent clients have been wrongfully accused.

Frequently Asked Questions About Shoplifting Arrests in Stamford
Can I be Arrested for Shoplifting if I Never Left the Store?

Many people arrested for shoplifting in Stamford are upset because they are detained before they ever left the store, and they intended to pay for the merchandise. Loss prevention agents often make shoplifting arrests in Stamford as soon as they see any evidence that they feel may indicate that you intend to steal merchandise from the store. Regrettably, these loss prevention agents are not trained law enforcement officers and have a strong financial motivation to make as many arrests as possible.

Technological advancements in video surveillance and facial recognition have given loss prevention agents tremendous power to monitor every square inch of the store for any signs of suspicious activity.

You can be arrested for shoplifting even if you never left the store if you engage in any of the following actions:

  • Removing or altering price tags
  • Hiding merchandise in your purse, bag or upon your person
  • Removing or deactivating anti-theft security alarms and countermeasures
  • Hiding merchandise under your shopping cart and not paying for it
  • Not ringing for or paying for items at self-checkout lanes

C.G.S. § 53a-125b, larceny in the sixth degree requires that the state prove that you acted intentionally. If you did not act with an intent to steal or take the merchandise, then you can not be convicted for shoplifting as the statute requires proof of an intention to steal.

If you have been arrested for shoplifting and did not intend to steal anything, you should contact a Stamford shoplifting lawyer to carefully review the facts of your specific case and determine if the state has sufficient proof to proceed with its prosecution. Many loss prevention agents lack adequate training and experience and often make errors. These agents are under a lot of pressure to make arrests and often make hasty decisions to arrest someone even when the facts do not support the arrest.

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Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer to Represent Me in a Shoplifting Case?

Anyone who is arrested for a criminal offense should retain a Stamford criminal lawyer to represent them. Even when attorneys get arrested, they hire lawyers to represent them. An experienced Stamford shoplifting attorney knows all the best ways to challenge the sufficiency of the state’s evidence against you and how to look for the best defense strategies to employ in your case to achieve the best possible outcome.

Shoplifting seems like a trivial offense to many; however, a conviction for shoplifting can have serious long-term consequences on your reputation and ability to secure employment and housing opportunities for years to come. Shoplifting is a form of larceny, and a conviction for larceny would be applied to your arrest and criminal conviction record as a degree of larceny, which is considered a crime of moral turpitude.

A skilled shoplifting attorney serving Stamford can work to mitigate the consequences of your shoplifting case by negotiating with the state’s attorney and presenting the facts of your case in the most favorable light possible. It is possible in many situations to get shoplifting cases dropped entirely in some instances in exchange for doing some community service hours. This is where hiring a lawyer with experience in defending shoplifting cases in Stamford can make a difference. We are very familiar with how the individual state’s attorneys think about shoplifting cases and what are the best ways to present the case to get the desired outcome. Optimally, a good lawyer can avoid having to use the accelerated rehabilitation program to resolve a typical shoplifting allegation. It is best not to “burn your AR” if possible. Speak with an experienced Stamford criminal attorney to review the best alternatives to defend your shoplifting case.

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Can I Avoid a Criminal Record for a Shoplifting Arrest?

People who are arrested fall into two categories:

  • Those who have no criminal record
  • Those who have a prior criminal history

The resolution of shoplifting allegations differs depending on which category you fall into, and the value of the items you are alleged to have stolen.

For those who are first time offenders, which make up 90% of our shoplifting clients, shoplifting cases are resolved without any criminal record. In most cases, we can convince the state’s attorney to drop or nolle the charges. This means that the charges are dismissed. Another alternative is to use a diversionary program for first-time offenders in order to have the charges dismissed. One such program which we often use is the accelerated rehabilitation program, but there are other programs available like the supervised diversionary program as well. In summary, if you are a first-time offender and you are charged with low level shoplifting like Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-125b larceny in the 6th degree or even larceny in the 5th degree it is likely that the charges against you will be totally dismissed, and you will be left with no criminal record.

For individuals who have a prior criminal record, particularly those who have a prior arrest for larceny, it may be necessary to defend the case in order to avoid a criminal record. Generally, the state’s attorney is less likely to nolle or drop shoplifting charges if you have a prior criminal history. In these situations, you are also generally not eligible for most diversionary programs for first-time offenders. However, the supervised diversionary program can still be used to have the charges dismissed if there are underlying emotional or psychological issues that were a factor in the crime.

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Can You Beat a Shoplifting Case?

Larceny in the sixth degree or Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-125b is a crime that requires that the accused acted intentionally. Since the state has the burden to prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, often skilled Stamford shoplifting lawyers focus on attacking the element of intent to beat shoplifting cases.

If what you did was a mistake or just an absentminded oversight, then it is not an intentional act, and you can’t be convicted for shoplifting. For example, we have many people arrested for shoplifting in Stamford after the City imposed a law in May of 2019, banning the use of plastic bags by stores. This City ordinance encourages shoppers to bring their own recyclable shopping bags to stores to save the environment. Some of our clients have been wrongfully arrested for shoplifting after this ordinance passed when they used their personal recycled bags to carry goods in the store. Loss prevention agents detained these clients because they suspected that they were attempting to steal the items. However, the clients lacked the intent to steal anything; they just made a mistake to carry their shopping in their recycled bags before they paid for the items.

In another common scenario, shoppers who accidentally fail to ring an item at a self-checkout lane are frequently arrested for shoplifting by heavy-handed loss prevention agents. In many cases, the errors were inadvertent and not intentional. Generally, we can beat these cases at trial if needed because it would be hard for the state to prove the required element of intent. Usually, taking the case to trial is not necessary as the state will often drop or nolle these types of cases. In most self-checkout cases, the state’s attorney wants to see how many items were not scanned and what the proportion is between the value of the entire shopping cart and the unpaid items.

There are many defenses to shoplifting allegations, and just because a loss prevention agent has made an allegation against you, that does not mean that you are going to wind up with a criminal record. An allegation is only an allegation. We will fight hard to get the charges against you dismissed entirely and achieve the most favorable resolution possible.

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What are the Advantages of Using a Local Attorney?

To you, your case is the most important case in the world. Getting you the best possible outcome a top priority for us also. By working with a local lawyer who has years of experience working at the Stamford G.A. #1 Courthouse, you will have an advocate who knows how these kinds of cases are handled in Stamford. Each of the 13 G.A. courts in the state has its own unique culture, and often they have local policies and procedures. It is best to use a local lawyer who is very familiar with the Stamford court.

Having years of experience working with all the state’s attorneys and judges at the Stamford court gives us the ability to understand which arguments and approaches work best in Stamford. These relationships do not provide us any influence to affect the decision-maker. However, by knowing the players in the Stamford court so well, and how they think, our over 25 years of experience guides us in understanding the best approach to take in each case. Also, we are in a better position to provide informed guidance to our clients on the most likely outcome for their matter.

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Been Arrested for Shoplifting in Stamford, Where Do You Start?

If you have been arrested for shoplifting, you should immediately contact a Stamford shoplifting attorney to get legal advice on the best way to handle the situation. We will carefully review the facts of your case and give you specific recommendations for the best way to obtain a favorable disposition. Call Attorney Friedman at (203) 357-5555 to schedule your free consultation and initial case evaluation. Or you can contact us online for a prompt response.

Our office is conveniently located one block from the Stamford Courthouse.

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This man literally saved my life! I had a criminal mischief and domestic charge along with a protective order put on me. Atty Friedman successfully got me into the required needed to have these charges dropped. Then came the felony protective order violation...Long story short I walked out of court today with all my charges nolled. Anonymous