Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer
In order to for a jury to find the defendant guilty of shoplifting by concealing merchandise, the prosecution must prove three things:
- The defendant concealed merchandise on his person or somewhere else under his control;
- The defendant did not own the merchandise;
- The defendant concealed the merchandise before paying for it and did so with the intention of stealing the merchandise.
The shoplifting by concealing statute means that you don’t need to take the merchandise out of the store in order to be found guilty of a shoplifting crime. All the prosecutor has to show is that the defendant removed the merchandise from the display or shelf and concealed it. This is form of shoplifting can be difficult to charge especially in the case in self-service stores where people remove merchandise from displays or shelves and walk with them while they continue shopping. To get this charge to stick the prosecutor will have to show that there was some form of concealment that indicated the defendant did not intend to pay for the merchandise. Putting merchandise in a shoe or sock or placing it in the inside pocket of a coat usually indicates an intention to take the merchandise without paying for it.
Clerk Magistrates Hearing
Shoplifting is a misdemeanor crime. As a practical matter, police in Massachusetts have limited powers to arrest someone for a misdemeanor crime that was not committed in their presence. Generally speaking, a police officer can only arrest someone for shoplifting if he has probable cause to believe the person committed the offense of shoplifting.
If an employee or business owner shows the police officer video footage from surveillance cameras that show someone shoplifting, then the officer has probable cause to arrest that individual. However, police officers and surveillance cameras cannot witness every crime. In these situations the police will not arrest the individual but instead will apply for a complaint at the local district court. The person accused in the complaint of shoplifting will receive a notice to appear for a clerk magistrate’s hearing or “show cause” hearing. To read more about our clerks hearing defense visit our page on clerk hearing.
Types of Shoplifting Crimes in Massachusetts
Our criminal defense attorneys have the experience to defend you against an array of shoplifting crimes including:
- Shoplifting by Asportation
- Shoplifting by Switching a Price Tag
- Shoplifting by Switching Containers
- Shoplifting by Concealing Merchandise
- Shoplifting by Ringing Up a False Price
- Shoplifting Over or Under $250 Dollars
- Larceny Over/Under $1,200 (Property Theft)
Free Consultation With an Experienced Brockton Massachusetts Shoplifting Crimes Attorney
If you have been charged with any shoplifting or theft crime in Massachusetts, the criminal defense lawyers of The Noonan Defense Firm may be able to plead down your case with the district attorney, or have the charges dismissed pending a period of probation. Restitution of the value of the property will also go a long way toward having a larceny conviction erased from your record, or not having it entered there in the first place.
To schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced and caring attorney about your case, call our Brockton, MA law offices today, at (508) 584-6955, or use our email form to contact us.