Cambridge Shoplifting Defense Lawyer
Larceny & Shoplifting
Being charged with robbery, or even larceny, is an alarming development in anyone’s life. Even the “minor” charge of shoplifting can tarnish an individual’s otherwise clean record. Because a shoplifting charge or conviction can unsettle prospective employers or even colleges and universities, retaining a Boston criminal lawyer with experience in persuading Clerk Magistrates and Judges to dismiss these charges can prove critical to your future.
In cases where an individual has been accused of stealing a modest amount of money or merchandise, Cambridge Criminal Defense Attorney Kevin J. Mahoney has consistently persuaded judges to dismiss the charges, sometimes following a period of counseling. In two instances, where his clients were charged with larcenies of tens of thousands of dollars, Attorney Mahoney successfully prevailed upon the court to dismiss the charges upon repayment of the money. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will be able to objectively evaluate the strength of the prosecution’s case against you or your loved one. Call at 617-492-0055 to schedule a free in-office consultation.
Defending a Shoplifting Charge
To secure a conviction for shoplifting, under G.L. c. 266, §30A, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused:
- Intentionally took possession of, carried away, transferred;
- or caused to be carried away or transferred;
- or intentionally concealed;
- merchandise displayed, held, stored, or offered by the merchant;
- with the intent of depriving the merchant of its possession; and,
- without paying the merchant its value.
To be convicted of shoplifting in Massachusetts, you must intentionally conceal merchandise with the intent of permanently depriving the store of it. Altering price tags (for example, putting a clearance price tag on a regularly priced item), switching containers of merchandise, ringing up the wrong price, and removing a shopping cart from the store premises without the intention of returning the same fall within the parameters of the shoplifting statute.
Cambridge Criminal Defense Lawyer: Shoplifting Deterrence Methods
Retailers utilize various methods to deter shoplifters. CCTV cameras, monitored by employees, record shoppers at all times. Electronic Article Surveillance, a.k.a. security tags, set the store alarm off when they are not deactivated at the register. Loss prevention personnel provide a less threatening presence than actual police officers in a store. These corporate employees pretend to shop in the store, usually visiting a different store each day, while keeping an eye for suspicious behavior of actual customers. In clothing stores, clerks may count articles of clothing brought into and out of the dressing room to ensure all merchandise is still there.
Cambridge Criminal Defense Lawyer: Clerk Magistrate’s Hearing
Since shoplifting is generally considered a minor crime, defendants may be able to contest the allegations at a Clerk Magistrate’s hearing. Before appearing at the hearing without having retained a criminal defense lawyer, consider the following factors: 1) the court will not provide you with a court appointed attorney for a clerk magistrate’s hearing; 2) without an attorney, unless you chose to exercise your right to remain silent, you will have to provide possibly incriminating to questions posed to you by the clerk; 3) the hearings are usually recorded and incriminating statements may be later used against you at a trial; 4) experienced criminal defense lawyers best understand how to respond to the Clerk’s questions; 5) in considering whether to issue the charges, the Clerk may feel that you are taking the matter seriously by incurring the expense of retaining counsel; and, 6) criminal attorneys know, or should know, how best to contest charges that have been unfairly leveled against you. Moreover, a skilled criminal lawyer may be able to persuade the Clerk to dismiss the application for a criminal complaint outright or to place the defendant on a probation for a period of time. If the defendant is not accused of additional crimes during the probation period, the application for the criminal complaint is dismissed. It is, therefore, worthwhile to hire a skilled criminal defense attorney to contest the charges before they even issue.
Cambridge Criminal Lawyer Explains: Punishments
If the value of merchandise alleged to have been shoplifted is less than $100.00, the defendant may not be fined for more than $250.00. A second offense of the same will bring a fine between $100.00 and $500.00. A third offense of the same will bring a fine of up to $500.00 or up to 2 years in jail or both a fine and incarceration.
If the merchandise shoplifted is more than $100.00, the fine may be up to $1,000.00 and the jail time may reach 2 ½ years, or the defendant may be fined and jailed.
Kevin J. Mahoney is a Cambridge Shoplifting Defense Lawyer. As a Middlesex County Assistant District Attorney he successfully prosecuted hundreds of individuals for shoplifting in Framingham District Court. For the past 20 years, he has used that experience in defending his clients.