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Manhattan Petit Larceny Lawyers

Petit larceny is a white collar crime that involves stealing as per New York’s Penal Law 155.05, which is about larceny in general. It is a lesser crime than grand larceny. If a person has stolen property that values less than $1,000, they are charged with petit larceny per the New York Penal Law 155.25. Usually, this type of crime applies to a person who has shoplifted items from stores. However, stores suffer a great deal of financial loss as a result of shoplifting and install security cameras and security tags in doorways to catch people in the act. If a person is caught shoplifting, they can face not only criminal but civil action as well. Anyone who has been charged with petit larceny or any other type of theft should immediately get in touch with a skilled Manhattan criminal defense lawyer.

It is not unusual for retail stores to have plainclothes security officers situated throughout the premises to be on the lookout for suspected shoplifters. That means people would not immediately recognize them as being a security guard. If someone tries to steal merchandise, the guard has a right to stop or detain them to investigate the situation. At the same time, security guards are required to act reasonably. In other words, the guard cannot detain a person suspected of shoplifting for too long a time. They can contact the police and make the individual wait until the officers arrive.

Stores also are not permitted to use excessive force to keep someone, such as with the use of handcuffs. The security guard can pat a person down to check for stolen merchandise on their person, however. Excessive force can also include threats, racial slurs and other bad, offensive language.

Stores commonly also try to make people sign a confession. In some cases, the security guard may even try that tactic and tell you that you cannot leave until you sign such a document. If the guard says the individual will not be arrested if they sign the confession, it’s actually a ploy. In some instances, the store may make a person sign a document that says they will no longer be allowed to enter the store or even the shopping mall at all for a certain amount of time, usually for years. Even if a person is strongly suspected of shoplifting, they are under no legal obligation to sign any documents.

The best thing anyone in such a situation can do is to say as little as possible while the store investigates. Even if the store claims to have the individual on tape, the best thing to do is to remain silent. It’s important to remember that if a person does sign anything, it can be used against them later on, which can lead to their arrest and prosecution for the crime of shoplifting and petit larceny.

Sometimes, the store uses another tactic that involves more than one person being accused of shoplifting. The security guard separates the so-called suspects and tells one person that the other confessed to the crime. In that situation, there is a good chance the guard is lying just to get a confession out of the individual. No matter what the situation or how nervous a person is, they should still remain quiet and not speak until they can meet with an attorney.

A person who is accused of shoplifting is usually charged not only with petit larceny but other crimes as well. A typical additional charge is criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree, which is a Class A misdemeanor in the state of New York. However, the additional charge can be even more serious if it’s grand larceny in the fourth degree and criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree, which is a felony.

Anyone accused of petit larceny can be issued a Desk Appearance ticket or DAT, which is decided by the arresting police officer. A DAT is given if the individual doesn’t have a prior criminal record and is being accused of a misdemeanor. The DAT allows the person to go home until their arraignment.

No matter what, it’s absolutely essential that anyone accused of these crimes speak with an attorney as soon as possible. It can give them a better chance of having the charges reduced or even dropped.

by Leonard on Spodek Law Group
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