New York is easily known as one of the biggest shopping meccas in the world. Tourists and locals alike flock to its diverse and alluring shopping centers, but with this popularity comes the occasional shoplifting incident. While state laws work to deter shoppers from pocketing products, those found guilty of this crime can sometimes deal with the repercussions to exhausting lengths. Below are some accessible facts about shoplifting, including state laws and common defenses for theft charges.
Findlaw lists the basics when it comes to shoplifting charges in the state, pointing out that multiple sides of an incident can often exist. Although theft accusations are serious, prosecutors must prove the crime took place. Otherwise known as larceny in New York, shoplifting can also result in a commercial burglary charge — devices used to disarm security tags, for example, could constitute as evidence of planned theft before entering the store. Penalties range from petit larceny to grand larceny, with fines of up to $5,000 or more depending on incident specifics. The penalties may be steep, but there are a number of options when it comes to making a defense to a shoplifting charge.
Those defenses, as Psychology Today highlights in an article on shoplifting, can become complex. Unlike those who cope with addictions to stealing, some shoplift out of a need to support family or were victims of entrapment; others strive to defend shoplifting accustions as a result of one intoxicated night out on the town. Younger crowds may face peer pressure to steal, which Psychology Today notes is highly common. Some might argue that, in cases of poverty, there are alternative resources and programs that offer supplies, but accessing food and other items is not always a simple task. A shoplifting charge may seem an overwhelming mess to untangle, but the key lies in the proof — or lack thereof — that the theft took place.