Depending on the value of the product involved, shoplifting in Massachusetts can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony offense. At the Law Office of Paul R. Moraski, our criminal defense attorney understands that a charge of shoplifting could change your life. If you are facing shoplifting charges in Massachusetts, calling an experienced criminal defense attorney is one of the first things that you should do. To learn more about your rights and how our law firm can help, call today.
How Shoplifting Is Defined
The definition of shoplifting is found under Massachusetts Code Chapter 266 Section 30A, and reads that anyone who intentionally “takes possession of, carries away, transfers, or causes to carried away or transferred” any merchandise from a store with the “intention of depriving the merchant” of the benefit or possession of the merchandise without paying commits shoplifting. In other words, taking any item from a store without paying for it is a crime.
Note that the definition of shoplifting continues to also include altering or removing labels, changing the recorded value of merchandise, and even removing a shopping cart.
Penalties for Shoplifting in Massachusetts
The penalties for shoplifting will be more severe depending on the value of the merchandise involved. The criminal background of the defendant and whether or not this is the defendant’s first offense can also impact sentencing.
If the value of goods/merchandise involved is less than $250, then the following penalties shall apply:
- First offense. Fine of up to $250.
- Second offense. Fine of $100-$500.
- Third offense. Fine of up to $500, imprisonment in jail of up to two years, or both.
If the value of goods involved is equal to or more than $250, then penalties increase to a fine of up to $1,000, imprisonment in jail for up to 2.5 years, or both.
How to Defend Yourself Against Shoplifting Charges in Massachusetts
The specific defense that is most viable for you will need to be worked out by your attorney, who can gather and present favorable evidence, poke holes in the prosecution’s arguments, and suppress negative evidence. Common defenses might include lack of probable cause to search you, lack of intent, or challenges to the value of the items in question.
Call Our Massachusetts Shoplifting Lawyer Today
While being charged with a misdemeanor shoplifting charge may seem like a relatively minor offense, the truth is that even a misdemeanor conviction on your record could impact your future. When you have been charged with a crime and want to secure the best outcome possible, working with a criminal defense lawyer is strongly recommended. At The Law Office of Paul R. Moraski, our criminal defense attorney has the experience you can trust. Call our law firm today at (978) 397-0011 or send us a message online to get started working on your defense.