Share

Common Misconceptions Regarding Theft Charges

People have a common misconception that nothing will happen to them and things will be all right, at least until the moment they get caught. This is particularly true for people who get caught shoplifting in departmental stores, whether this occurs in a Wal-Mart, a Home Depot, or another departmental store.

The frequent misconception is that theft is not a big deal, and that the person will not get in trouble. They don’t think they’ll be prosecuted, that the security people will say: “Don’t worry about it.” They think they’ll sign a statement admitting they stole and then go on their way. However, the police are called anyway.

To a large extent, people simply don’t believe they’ll be seen or caught in these large stores.

Other than the security at the door and the tags that go off if the person tries to leave the store with products, most major departments also have two other levels of security. One of these include plainclothes security guards walking on the floor, looking for people who are actively trying to conceal things. Many of these stores also have a significant camera system and someone watching the cameras to see who is trying to steal.

The second big misconception is the thought that no one will call the police if the people sign the paperwork after they get caught. They think the security guard will promise they won’t call the police and let the people go. They do not let people go.

When someone walks in a store and sees a sign stating, “Shoplifters will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” they must take this seriously. Anyone who gets caught will be prosecuted, and the police will be called no matter what. Therefore, no matter what paperwork they sign, no matter what they admit to the security guard, the people will be charged, anyway.

The third misconception is that a small stolen product is not a big deal. However, it might be a big deal depending upon how old the person is, what he’s done in the past, and which court he ultimately attends.

Are There Any Scenarios That Involve Accidental Shoplifting?

Yes, this does happen sometimes. Often, it occurs with someone who has Alzheimer’s, who doesn’t know what he’s doing. He can be prosecuted, but his condition is used as a defense if it’s established that the person doesn’t know what he’s doing.

Normally, when the information is presented to the prosecutor, these cases in which the person doesn’t have a criminal history are dismissed relatively quickly.

Another more common area for accidental theft occurs with a situation in which someone is legitimately looking at stuff and places an item in his coat or under his arm, without the intention of stealing. He continues and looks at things. Afterwards, he leaves and checks out $100 worth of things, but he has $10 worth of things in his pocket. This is very frequent in terms of accidental theft.

What Are The Differences Between Robbery And Burglary?

Burglary is basically going into a building with the intent to commit a crime in that building. This could be any crime.

Someone who entered and killed someone in a house is charged with murder and also with burglary. After all, he entered that house with the intent to commit the crime of murder.

This would be called burglary whether it was a house, someone’s residence, or a commercial building. Most burglaries involve something as simple as someone wanting to steal something.

Thusly, someone breaking into a house when no one is at home in order to take cash and jewelry is committing a burglary and a theft. This would be a grand larceny, because he probably took more than $1,000.

A robbery is simply a forcible stealing. A classic case of a robbery is a purse snatching, during which a woman has a pocket book on her shoulder and someone runs past and grabs it. Essentially, a robbery is stealing property forcefully or using a gun.

Is The Person Obligated To Talk To The Police Or Detective For A Theft Charge?

A person is never obligated to talk to the police or detectives. Everyone has heard of the Miranda Warnings, which state that the person has the right to remain silent, and anything he says can and will be used against him in the court of law. He has the right to talk to an attorney before answering any questions. The rights are there for a reason.

If the security guards called the police on someone who was caught red-handed stealing at Wal-Mart, then the person doesn’t do any good by giving the police any type of statement. The person could lie to the police in his statement. However, he’s already signed a statement admitting to committing the crime. Alternately, the person could admit what he did to the police, which can be used against him if he went to trial.

Since the person is not required to talk to the police, and because nothing he says to the police really helps him, it makes no sense to give the police a statement if the person was caught red-handed.

Sometimes, it’s appropriate to talk to the police if the police were conducting an investigation or if the person who was caught said another had sold him the item.

Also, the person might not be guilty. Thus, he must talk to the police to give them an honest statement.

Can Someone Who Was Caught Shoplifting Just Plead Guilty And Throw Himself At The Mercy Of The Court?

This isn’t the smartest thing to do.

The person might only be charged with a misdemeanor if it was a small theft. Therefore, he doesn’t have a lot of rights.

Anybody charged with the crime has the right to an attorney. If he cannot afford an attorney, then an attorney would be assigned to represent him. He always has a right to a trial.

Firstly, an individual has the absolute right to defend himself, although the court would still inquire about that individual’s competence to defend himself.

The court might not allow someone to plead guilty on his first appearance in court. Therefore, he might need to come back to court the second time after consulting with an attorney to comprehend what he’s facing. After all, having a criminal record has some potentially long-term, dire consequences.

Going to court with the intention of just pleading guilty isn’t good. The ability to either reduce charges or achieve the “Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal” is generally not offered by the prosecutor unless an attorney represented the person.

The court is required to appoint an attorney to represent the person if he cannot afford one himself. However, if he can afford an attorney, then he should find someone who is trained and knowledgeable.

The attorney should be trained to interact with the judge and the prosecutor to achieve the best possible result. The person has already made the big mistake of stealing something. He shouldn’t compound that mistake by not finding an attorney who knows what he’s doing when representing him in court.

It is not a wise idea for someone to go into court and confess his guilt. He shouldn’t say he’s willing to take the punishment. The court’s punishment after a guilty plea is probably much greater than what it would be if the attorney was able to work for the person.

For more information on Common Misconceptions, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you're seeking by calling (914)788-4126 today.


Malia Law, LLC located in Cortlandt Manor, NY represents Landlords/Tenants throughout Westchester County, Putnam County and Southern Dutchess County, NY.



© 2017 Malia Law, LLC | Attorney Advertising
1011 Park Street, Suite 3, Peekskill, NY 10566
| Phone: 914-788-4126

Landlord Services Overview | Wills, Trusts & Estates | General Information About Landlord / Tenant Laws | Common Issues Regarding Landlord - Tenant Relation | Traffic Violations | DWI/DUI Defense | | About Us | Criminal Defense

Google+Linked-In Personal

Law Firm Website Design by
Zola Creative