Shoplifting by Switching Price Tag

Brockton Theft and Shoplifting Crimes Criminal Defense Lawyers

Anyone who knowingly and intentionally changes, switches or alters the price tag on merchandise and does so with intention of paying less than the actual value of the merchandise will be found guilty of shoplifting by switching price tag.

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In order to prove the defendant is guilty of shoplifting by switching price tag, the prosecution must prove three things beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The price of the merchandise was marked on a price tag or other label;
  • That the defendant intentionally switched the price tag with another price tag or alter the price tag to show a different price;
  • The defendant then attempted to purchase the merchandise at the altered or changed price;
  • The defendant with the intention of paying less than the actual value of the merchandise.

Shoplifting Charged As A Larceny Crime

Although the larceny statutes do not govern shoplifting crimes, a prosecutor has the choice to bring a shoplifter up on larceny charges instead of shoplifting charges.  A conviction for larceny under $1,200 or over $1,200 carries stiffer penalties than a conviction for shoplifting. However, if the total value of the goods is under $100 then the shoplifting laws and penalties will apply instead of the larceny laws and penalties.

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 has committed the offense of shoplifting.

If an employee or business owner shows the police officer video footage from surveillance cameras that shows someone shoplifting, then the officer has probable cause to arrest that individual. However, police officers and surveillance cameras can not 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 magistrates hearing or “show cause” hearing. To read more about our clerks hearing defense visit our page on clerk hearings.

Types of Shoplifting Crimes in Massachusetts

Our criminal defense attorneys have the experience to defend you against an array of shoplifting crimes including:

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Shoplifting charges shouldn’t be taken lightly. Retail stores in Massachusetts seek to prosecute shoplifters to the fullest extent of the law. Shoplifting also falls with the list of deportable offense for those individuals that aren’t citizens of the United States.

If you have been charged with shoplifting, you need an attorney at your side who knows the ins and outs of Massachusetts’ complicated larceny laws.  If you are a first-time offender, the legal experts at The Noonan Defense Firm may be able to have the charges dismissed entirely and erased from your permanent record, usually in exchange for a fine and a period of probation. More serious, or repeat, charges of shoplifting may be negotiable with the district attorney, as it is very rare that shoplifting cases are brought all the way to a judge or jury.

No matter where you are located, we are just a phone call away. Call us to schedule a free no-obligation case review and consultation at (508) 584-6955 and you will have taken your first step to find out how best to confront this important matter. You can also click here to use our Free Case Evaluation Form.

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