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Prosecuting a New York Theft Charge

Here’s an article by Todd Spodek, a top rated Long Island Criminal lawyer, and Long Island Divorce Lawyer. Stealing is wrong, but it’s something that happens all the time. New Yorkers can be guilty of theft whether it’s a $10 pack of socks or a $10 million painting from an art gallery. There is no limit to what constitutes theft if you take something that belongs to someone else whether you intend to profit from it or just enjoy it at home. While it’s not common to see a theft charge and arrest for something small, New York laws do allow anyone to press charges for any type of theft. Depending on the dollar amount of the item or items stolen, the crime could be a misdemeanor or a felony.

There are various degrees of both. The general rule of thumb is anything that’s not too valuable is considered a misdemeanor. Anything that is worth more becomes a felony charge. You could face time in jail, restitution, a felony charge, and more if you are caught stealing in New York. If you are arrested for theft in New York, you should understand what it takes to prosecute you so that you’re convicted of the crime.

What the Prosecution Must Prove

The prosecution must prove several things for a jury to find you guilty of theft in New York. The prosecutor must prove you intentionally took the item you stole. For example, if you walked out of a store with a stolen item in your stroller that your toddler removed from a shelf without your knowledge, you did not know you were stealing. The prosecutor must also prove you intended on benefitting yourself in some way when you were stealing.

Proving Probable Cause

It must be determined how you went about stealing something when you see a judge for your crimes. This means the prosecution must find a way to prove you took something and knew you were taking it in advance. They must be able to prove probable cause, which is not easy to do if you were unknowingly stealing from a business or another person. There is also the problem of facing a grand jury. If you are accused of a misdemeanor theft charge, you might not worry about this.

However, when the charge is serious and expensive, you could be brought in front of a grand jury. It happens quickly and without much warning in cases where the person being convicted of the crime is already wealthy, stole a lot of money, or defrauded people in a major way. A grand jury charge is very difficult to have changed once it’s happened, which is why you must call an attorney right away.

Call an Attorney

There is no simple way to classify a theft in New York. It can be minor or serious, and you don’t always know you’re stealing. Did you know you can be charged with theft if you have a piece of stolen property on you that you didn’t even know was stolen? For example, you find a beautiful item at a yard sale that’s worth a lot of money. It’s being sold for well below the actual value of the item, so you decide to pick it up at the discounted yard sale price. You might assume the homeowner has no idea the item they have is very valuable.

You buy it and then turn around and try to sell it elsewhere for what it’s really worth. When an appraiser looks at it, they realize it’s a stolen item and you’re now fencing that stolen item. You have no idea it’s stolen. You bought it at a yard sale. Of course, this means you have no receipt or even any proof of this, and now you are arrested for trying to sell stolen goods.

This is a prime example of why you must have an attorney on your side when you are arrested and charged with a crime like this. You need an attorney track down the evidence, to figure out how to prove you are innocent, and to try and find the people who sold you the Item. You could do it yourself, but your lack of familiarity with the law makes it difficult for you to know what’s legal, what’s not, and what’s required to help you clear your name.

Call an attorney and save yourself the trouble. An attorney knows what the prosecution must prove to have you convicted of theft in New York, and they can fight for you every step of the way if the prosecution is not doing their job correctly. Let an attorney help you clear your name and get this charge dropped without spending a moment in jail or paying any fines for a crime you did not commit.

by Leonard on Spodek Law Group
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