What to Do When Charged with Retail Theft

Retail establishments are businesses that receive a lot of foot traffic. Owners generally display items on shelves for sale. This business is also somehow based on trust and confidence in the people who go in and out of their retail establishment. Any person is welcome to come in to browse through their items and buy whatever is available on their shelves and go to the counter to pay for the certain item. It is simple to walk away with any item without paying for it simply because the retail shop owner or his or her staff, most often than not, are usually just by the counter waiting for those who are going to pay for the items they wish to purchase. Such businesses are not free from any theft that might happen. Shoplifting or retail theft is penalized by our statutes.

 

Shoplifting or retail theft, as defined in Merriam-Webster dictionary, is the act of stealing displayed goods that are for sale in any retail establishment. Today, in the United States, shoplifting or retail theft is one of the ways that, generally, any law-abiding citizen may commit. It may be a violation of a municipal ordinance, or statutes as a misdemeanor or as a felony.

 

Any law-abiding person may be charged with retail theft. The decline of the economy contributes to the incline of retail theft charges and offenses in the country. Retail theft is an offense that is very complex. It may be committed in a number of ways:

 

  • Walk out of the store with the merchandise without paying for it;
  • Alter, transfer or remove the label of the merchandise and purchase the same;
  • Transfer the merchandise to any other place in the store; or
  • Any other method that the other person will use with intent to deprive the retailer of its full value.

It is hard to determine who are the offenders in this case. Some retail establishments install state of the art technology to apprehend any offenders but some retail establishments are still relying on the old-fashioned way, by confronting the offender. Here are some of the important things one must do when they are caught committing or accused of retail theft:

 

 

  • Do not try to flee from the retail establishment or from the unarmed private security officers. Most of the time, offenders are confronted by the in-store security before they are turned over to the police or authorities. Fleeing the in-store security is a strong indication of guilt. You will lose the right to challenge the legality of the detention in court.

 

invoke your right to counsel

 

  • When you are turned over to the police, invoke your right to counsel. Any explanation, whether made innocently, may be used against you. When the police asks you to explain what happened, do not be compelled to answer. Simply invoke your right to counsel before admitting or denying anything. You will also have the right to a bail attorney if you do not already have the funds to bail yourself out of jail.

 

  • Hire a criminal defense lawyer. Retail theft may be a serious criminal offense. You must be represented by an experienced lawyer specializing in criminal law practice to ensure that all your rights are protected and all your defenses laid out accordingly.

 

 

  • When there are any restitutions due, immediately pay it. If the offender was able to flee the store before he was caught by the in-store security committing retail theft, he shall be required to pay the retail establishment restitution. In a number of cases, the retail establishment drops the charges when restitution is paid; however, if you are not guilty of the charge, do not pay such.

 

make sure to appear in court

 

  • Appear in court. If the charge is criminal in nature, make sure to appear in court because failure to do so, without any justifiable reason, might result in the judge issuing a warrant for your arrest. However, if the charge is a municipal violation, you are not required to appear in court, but failure to do so shall result in the judge finding you guilty by default.

 

 

the different types of grand theft auto charges

7 Different Types of Grand Theft Charges

Theft may be classified depending on the total value of the stolen item/s. Grand theft is a kind of theft where the total value of the stolen property exceeds $500 — depending on which State the crime was committed. It may be charged as a separate crime from robbery, embezzlement or any other related crime. The following are some of the important facts to consider in Grand theft:

 

  • It is a felony.

It is penalized under our statutes as a felony. Any violation of these statutes shall result serving a sentence and/or pay a fine. It is difficult to expunge felony charges from one’s records and may result in difficulty in finding employment or be accepted in certain applications. However, a felony charge may sometimes be reduced to a misdemeanor charge depending on the circumstances of the case and as determined by the judge.

  • It is the act of depriving or withholding from someone their property or properties.

Grand theft is a serious crime committed by a person who deprives another or withholds him of his property with a total value of $500 (depending on the state). It is a physical and direct act of deprivation or withholding of the property. Simply put, it is a crime of theft in a “grand” scale.

  • There is intent to permanently or temporarily deprive the offended party or withhold him of his property or properties.

The physical act of deprivation of the property of another person or withhold him of his property must be intentional.

  • The offended party did not consent to the taking of his or her property or properties.

The physical taking of the property of the offended party must not have consented. If the other person consented to the taking of his property, or if the alleged offender asked permission and the other person gave his permission, there is no crime.

  • The total value of the stolen property or properties must be $500 or above (depending on the state).

It does not matter how many items have been stolen, what matters is the total value of the stolen property, regardless of nature, except when it is covered by another statute. The total amount of the property to commit the crime of grand theft depends on each state.

  • It is different from grand theft auto.

Grand theft auto is theft of a car. It is covered by a different statute and is only limited to the theft of a motor vehicle. Under this circumstance, the offender steals any type of motor vehicle regardless of its amount.

  • The penalty is dependent upon the total value of the stolen property or properties.

If the total value of the merchandise is less than $500, the offense is a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a penalty sentence of a maximum of nine months. An offense is a Class I felony if the total value of the stolen property exceeds $500 but does not exceed $5,000, which carries with it the penalty sentence of three years and six months. An offense is a  Class H felony if the total value of the stolen property exceeds $5,000 but does not exceed $10,000, which carries with it a penalty sentence of up to six years. Finally, shoplifting is a Class G felony if the total value of the stolen property exceeds $10,000, which carries a penalty sentence of up to ten years.

Make sure to hire a bondsman in your area if you find yourself or a loved one in one of the above mentioned situations.

aiding and abetting laws

3 Different Types of Aiding and Abetting

What if you have a friend who is a criminal and you help him? It may or may not result in a criminal charge. It depends if the help that you extended may be considered as aiding and abetting your friend in the commission of a crime or being an accessory to the crime. You do not necessarily need to be present with your friend, the offender, commits the crime but you have knowledge of the possibility of the crime being committed. Mere advice or any kind of support, whether by supplying him with some of the items that he may need to perfect the crime or financially, may be considered as the crime of aiding and abetting in the commission of the crime or being an accessory to the crime. If the offender has an active involvement in the planning of the commission of the crime, he may be charged, together with his friend, with conspiracy.

 

Difference of Aiding and Abetting or Accessory to Conspiracy

Aiding and Abetting in the Commission of a Crime

They generally mean to somehow assist in the commission of a crime or to be an accomplice. You have full knowledge of the fact that your friend has intent to commit the crime and you helped him financially or by extending to him any support to execute the crime, aside from helping in the planning of the crime. It does not necessarily require you to be physically present in the crime scene for you to be charged with aiding and abetting a criminal. You shall be charged with the crime of Aiding and Abetting, and shall be liable together with the offender as a principal.

 

For example, when you supply your friend with guns and other arms for the commission of the crime of murder. Whether or not you were personally at the crime scene, you are liable as a principal, as an aider or abettor to the commission of the crime of murder.

 

Accessory to the Crime

An accessory is a person who helps the offender but does not have the same liability as the principal because they do not directly help in the execution of the crime. They may have personal knowledge of the commission of the crime but their participation is as another helping hand, not as a necessary actor in the commission of the crime. An example of this is as a lookout in a robbery.

 

Conspiracy

Conspiracy is the act of 2 or more persons conspiring or confederating together to commit a crime. The mere planning to commit the crime is punishable under the law, even if the crime was not executed. If, in cases where the crime was successful, the crime committed shall be punished separately from conspiracy.

 

how to appeal to the courts of law

How To Be Free From Any Criminal Liability

If you have personal knowledge of the fact of a crime will be committed by your friend, and you have aided and abetted someone, you may still apply for a withdrawal of the criminal charges against you. The crime must not have happened yet, or before it has become unstoppable, and that you have already stopped your support in the commission of the crime. This may be difficult to prove unless there is an evidence of repudiation, such as communicating with your friend your refusal to further participate in the commission of the crime, or even warning the potential victim. However, some states may require the actual attempt to stop the execution of the crime by notifying officers of the law.

 

Mere acts in attempting to remove yourself from a crime before it is executed may also help mitigate the punishments you might face. These efforts may convince the prosecution to not charge you with a crime. Coming forward to report the commission of a crime, with clear signs that doing such shall be a threat to your safety, is an example of this.

 

Make sure to contact a bail agent near you if you or a loved one has been arrested for aiding and abetting!

the laws around assault charges

How to Identify Types of Assault and Battery

In certain states, assault and battery are often filed together because battery cannot be committed without assaulting the offended party. Assault is a lesser crime than battery because the latter involves inflicting actual harm to the offended party.

 

Assault is a crime that is defined as an attempt to injure someone else, it may include threats or threatening to injure the other person. There is an intent to commit assault or actually harm the other person by use of force or violence that makes a reasonable person to fear for his safety. Spoken words may be considered as assault provided that the offender does overt or direct acts that would make the other person fear of an imminent danger. Assault is often described as the attempted stage of battery. If there has been any physical harm inflicted, the crime would be battery.

 

Questions to ask whether it is assault or battery:

  1. Was there any attempt to injure or offend the offended party?
  2. Was there intent?
  3. Was the intent of the offender made to offend the other party fear of an imminent danger?
  4. If words were used to assault the other person, were they threatening?
  5. After the threats, did the offender commit any attempt to actually harm the offended party?
  6. Was the offended party actually harmed?

 

If the answer to all the questions is “YES,” the offended party may file assault and battery charges against the offender. If the answer to question number 6 is “NO,” the offended party may only file assault charges against the offender.

 

Battery, on the other hand, is a crime that is committed by a person who, through contact or touching, inflicts any physical harm or offense towards another person without the latter’s consent. The intent required is not really to harm the other person; what is required is that the offender intentionally causes the physical contact between him and the victim, for the purposes of harming or offending the latter.

 

Questions to ask whether it is battery or an accident:

  1. Was there any physical contact between the offender and the offended party?
  2. Was there physical harm or offense inflicted?
  3. Did the offended party consent to the act of the offender?
  4. Was there any intent on the part of the offender to cause any physical contact between him and the offended party?

 

what happens when charged with assult

If the answer to all the questions is “YES,” the offended party may file battery charges against the offender. However, if the answer to question number 4 is “NO,” the offended party cannot file any charges of battery against the offended party because such physical contact was an accident.

 

In summary, assault is the act of threatening to harm another person and battery is the actual act of harming him. They are two distinct and separate crimes. If the offender simply threatened to harm the other person, that is considered as assault under our statutes. However, simply uttering threatening words cannot be considered as battery if there were no direct or overt acts by the offender to attempt to cause any harm to the offended party. If there was any actual imminent, harmful or offensive action taken after assaulting the person, such act is battery.

penalties for burglary

6 Different Types of Burglary Charges and Their Penalties

Burglary is when a person trespass, or knowingly and unlawfully enters or remains in a property with intent to commit an offense within the premises, whether armed or not.

In New York, burglary is a crime punished under five different statutes. It is classified into different degrees, depending on the conduct involved. The gravity of the offense shall determine the penalty of the offender.

Make sure to hire a bondsman in your area if your loved one has been jailed due to burglary and you are unable to afford bail. Trials can takes months to begin so you don’t want your loved one sitting in a jail cell for this entire time period!

 

TYPES OF BURGLARY (in ascending order) and PENALTIES:

Third Degree Burglary

Third degree burglary, as defined in the statutes of New York, is entering or remaining unlawfully in a building at anytime with the intent to commit a crime. This is penalized with a minimum sentence of 1 year to a maximum of 5 years and/or a fine of $5,000.

Third Degree Burglary With A Firearm

Third degree burglary is entering or remaining unlawfully in a building at anytime with the intent to commit a crime with the use of, armed with, threatening the use of, displays or represents that he possesses a firearm (pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, or other firearm) shall be penalized with a mandatory sentence of 1 year minimum to a maximum of 5 years and/or a fine of $5,000.

Second Degree Burglary

Second degree burglary is entering or remaining unlawfully in a dwelling at night or when someone is home with the intent to commit a crime. This is penalized with a minimum sentence of 1 year to a maximum of 10 years and/or a fine of $10,000.

Second Degree Burglary With A Firearm

Second degree burglary is entering or remaining unlawfully in a dwelling at night  or when someone is home with the intent to commit a crime with the use of, armed with, threatening the use of, displays or represents that he possesses a firearm (pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, or other firearm) shall be penalized with a mandatory sentence of 1 year minimum to a maximum of 10 years and/or a fine of $10,000.

First Degree Burglary

First degree burglary is entering or remaining unlawfully in a dwelling at anytime. The offender shall intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly inflicts or attempts to inflict bodily injury on someone while attempting to commit the offense or while fleeing. This is penalized with a minimum sentence of 1 year to a maximum of 25 years and/or $20,000.

First Degree Burglary With A Firearm

First Degree Burglary is entering or remaining unlawfully in a dwelling at anytime. The offender shall intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly inflicts or attempts to inflict bodily injury on someone armed with a weapon (explosive, deadly weapon, or dangerous instrument) while attempting to commit the offense or while fleeing. This shall be penalized with a mandatory sentence of 5 years to a maximum of 25 years and/or $25,000.

 

Burglary is a crime separate and distinct from the crime committed within the building or dwelling. Statutes serves as guides by listing the minimum and maximum sentences for each degree of the crime. After the jury has determined the guilt of the offender, the case shall be returned to the judge who shall determine the sentence. Many factors shall take into play in the determination of the sentence, including any mitigating and/or aggravating circumstance present in the case.