Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266 Chapter 30A governs shoplifting in our commonwealth. Shoplifting can involve a wide variety of situations where one takes things without paying for them. Common examples include taking an item from a store without paying for it, switching price tags, changing labels, writing phony checks, stealing shopping carts, and eating food while shopping and hiding the wrapper. A person doesn’t even have to leave a retail store to be arrested and charged with shoplifting. Under our law, concealing goods in the store with the intent to later steal them constitutes a violation of the statute.
Shoplifting can be called Petty Theft or Grand Theft. It can be a misdemeanor or a felony charge. The punishment for a shoplifting conviction will depend on the amount and value of the items taken and one’s criminal history. For things stolen that are worth less than $100, there are fines of $250 for a first offense and $500 for a second offense. For a third shoplifting offense, the penalty is a jail sentence for up to two years. For items stolen that are worth $100 or more, even a first offense can bring a jail sentence of up to 2 ½ years and a $1,000 fine, and subsequent offenses can bring more jail time or higher fines. When the value is $100 or more, a prosecutor can choose whether the basis for criminal charges will be the shoplifting statute or the larceny statute.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can often get shoplifting charges reduced or dismissed. In any case, a good lawyer will get the best outcome and least serious punishment for you. Even if you think that shoplifting is a trivial charge or that the punishments are relatively minor, you should remember that at the very least, a shoplifting conviction is going to be a humiliating experience for you and your family.
Experienced Shoplifting Attorneys in Boston and Throughout Massachusetts: 617.492.3000 or 800.481.6199
Contact the criminal defense practice group of Altman & Altman LLP if you have been charged with shoplifting or any crime in Massachusetts. We are a team of aggressive lawyers with many years of experience. We offer a free initial consultation, and you can reach us at any time of day or night by calling 617.492.3000 or 800.481.6199 (toll–free). Alternatively, you can contact us online.