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Petit Larceny

Shoplifting Charges in New York / Long Island

A significantly high percentage of the criminal cases in New York criminal courts involve shoplifting, which is attributed to the fact that the city is the world’s retail capital. This does not make the charges any less serious than other criminal charges. Unfortunately, there are times when overzealous store security personnel falsely accuse innocent people, and this is where the services of larceny defense lawyers come in handy. Here are important points for consumers to know. Petit larceny refers to the theft of property whose value does not exceed $1000. Since it is a Class A misdemeanor, culprits can be jailed for up to one year. Here are the things that someone charged with petit larceny in New York City faces:


People arrested for petit larceny in the city may be held in custody before being arraigned in a criminal court, and the process may take from 18 to 24 hours. Typically, the police release the suspects within a few hours of their arrest with desk appearance ticket, which specifies the dates when they are required to appear in court. The arraignment usually takes place within a few weeks.


Many first-time offenders do not face probation. However, the larceny charges leave a permanent criminal record that stigmatizes the offenders, and the stigma is just as serious as that caused by any other potential court sentence. This is especially sensitive considering the lack of an expungement statute in New York City. As a result, a petit larceny charge in the city leads to complications in background checks, licensing, immigration and employment.

Civil Consequences

People accused of shoplifting may be required to pay the cost of the item they were accused of stealing. In New York City, attorneys of the concerned merchants may send a civil demand letter to the accused, which demands payment for both the stolen item together with attorneys’ fees and any monetary penalties.

These things show that petit larceny charges can have serious consequences even though they are considered misdemeanor offenses. Therefore, anyone who has been accused of shoplifting should immediately consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer in the city.

The attorney will review the complaint to determine whether there is sufficient ground to charge the criminal offense. The prosecution will be required to provide a sworn statement detailing a first-hand description of the theft and value of the stolen item or items. If the defense does not receive this information quickly, the attorney can move for the dismissal of the case.

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