Walmart, Home Depot, and ShopRite in Cortlandt, New York, have loss prevention teams tasked with aggressively targeting those they encounter shoplifting or adjusting prices at the register. Arrests for the crime of Petit Larceny have increased as these stores seek to prosecute anyone they think is stealing. The Petit Larceny Charge and Theft of Property Petit Larceny are the lowest level larceny charges. Penal Law Section 155.25 states that a person is guilty of Petit Larceny when they steal property. Petit Larceny is a Class A Misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail. Depending on the facts of the case and the accused individual’s criminal history, a jail term is not common. Still, there can be significant consequences for those found guilty. Conversely, Grand Larceny is a felony charge, and the level of that felony generally depends on the overall value of the alleged stolen items.
What Happens if You’re Charged With Shoplifting in Cortlandt?
When a person takes items from a store, they are charged with petit larceny. Sometimes, an individual can still be charged with petit larceny even if they remain in the store without passing all payment points. Typical forms of shoplifting include concealing items in a purse, bag, or on one’s person in a belt or shirt. In addition, adjustments at the register are common forms of petit larceny. Price adjustment theft can range from scanning the wrong item, failing to scan items, or even changing price tags.
Walmart in Cortlandt Manor employs staff trained to look for potential shoplifters. On occasion, they will follow the individual around the store and into the parking lot before stopping them. Similarly, Cortlandt Home Depot and ShopRite stores aggressively target suspected shoplifters and work hard to see them charged with petit larceny. If you are stopped by a store employee and accused of petit larceny (shoplifting), do not make any statements to the store security, manager, or staff that are against your interests. They want an accused shoplifter to make statements of guilt. Remember, store staff are not the police, and you do not have to speak to them! Store loss prevention staff are part of a private businesses with unlimited resources. The store does not have to read your Miranda warnings or advise you of your right to have an attorney. Store employees often make false promises to “let you go” if you admit wrongdoing, but this admission can be used against you in court.
If you are detained for shoplifting in Cortlandt, you may experience the following:
- The police will be called to the store, and you will be transported to the State Police Barracks or to the Cortlandt Police Department for fingerprinting, photographs, and additional processing on a Petit Larceny Charge.
- The Police will issue you a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) with a date to appear in the Cortlandt Justice Court before the District Attorney and the Cortlandt Town Judge.
- You will be taken to the Cortlandt Town Court, which meets Mondays at 9:00 am and Wednesdays at 5:30 pm. A store representative from the Cortlandt Walmart, ShopRite, or Home Depot will not appear in Court.
Why was I Charged With Shoplifting and Endangering the Welfare of a Child?
If you are charged with petit larceny, and the allegations are that you had a child with you at the time, the Cortlandt/State Police could charge you with misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a child. This charge is applied when a crime is committed in the presence of a child. This additional charge can lead to terrible consequences. In this instance, a special bureau of the District Attorney’s Office reviews the file, and Child Protective Services (CPS) is usually contacted, which could lead to actions taken in the Westchester County Family Court against the individual accused of neglect. Endangering the welfare of a child is a serious charge carrying serious consequences.
Do I need a Lawyer for a Cortlandt Petit Larceny Charge?
If you are facing petit larceny charges, you need a lawyer ready to fight on your behalf. When you appear before the Cortlandt judge, you will be informed that you are required to have a lawyer defend you in the proceedings. Petit larceny is a serious crime that carries criminal consequences such as jail, probation, and fines.
There are also collateral consequences to consider, such as:
- Deportation (if you are not a citizen)
- Termination of Employment
- School Notification
- Civil Suit Liability
- Mandatory Licensing Reporting (for teachers, financial professionals, and doctors)
It is necessary to have a lawyer on your side to advise you on how to best proceed.
Contact Proto, Sachs & Brown, LLP, If You’re Facing Petit Larceny Charges
If you are charged with petit larceny, you need to hire an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Our petit larceny lawyers in Cortlandt will immediately offer you information about the charge, interview you, obtain discovery, develop a strategy, and aggressively defend you to the District Attorney and the Court. Our goal is to have the case dismissed. This should be your goal as well. At Proto, Sachs & Brown, LLP, owners Andrew Proto and David Sachs are former Westchester County prosecutors who served in the Cortlandt Justice Court. They are published authors in general criminal defense and boast more than 22 years of experience each. Our compassionate attorneys will address your needs, fight for you aggressively in the courtroom, and fight for the best possible result in your case.
Call our office for a free initial consultation at