Arrests for shoplifting are incredibly common in New York City, and many
of those individuals arrested for shoplifting are being arrested for the
first time. Though arresting police officers typically assure people that
the arrests are trivial and will not have any lasting consequences, the
truth is that these cases need to be handled carefully because even seemingly
small cases like these can have tremendous negative implications for hardworking people.
Most people arrested for shoplifting are held by store security guards
until police arrive. During that time, store security guards typically
force or trick the people they've detained to sign written confessions
(by promising not to call the police if they sign) and trespass notices
acknowledging that they are no longer allowed to shop at the store. Store
security guards do not have to read people their Miranda rights because
they are not police officers, but anything said to them can and will be
used against them in courts of law.
Police officers then take these detained people to the local precinct,
where the arrest process begins. Fingerprints are taken and paperwork
is completed while the arrestees typically wait in a cell for about three
to four hours. Then, the alleged shoplifter is usually given a Desk Appearance
Ticket, which looks
like this, which directs the shoplifter to appear in court at a later date. Failure
to appear in court on that date results in a
warrant being ordered for that person's arrest.
Most shoplifters are charged with Class A misdemeanor violations of Penal
Law Sections 155.25 (Petit Larceny) and 165.40 (Criminal Possession of
Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree). If the merchandise is worth over
$1000.00, then the charge can become a felony called Grand Larceny in
the Fourth Degree (PL 155.30). Felony charges do not typically result
in Desk Appearance Tickets - those individuials usually spend the night
in jail before seeing a judge the next day.
A person charged with a Desk Appearance Ticket should consult with an attorney
prior to the return date of the ticket and bring that lawyer to court.
Only indigent people - people whose incomes are so low that they are truly
impoverished - are eligible for public defenders. Moreover, one cannot
contact a public defender to discuss a case prior to the court date. In
some rare cases, it may be possible for a private attorney to appear on
your behalf if you cannot possibly attend your court date. (The attorneys
at Galluzzo & Johnson LLP do this routinely for foreign and out-of-state
Most defendants without criminal records charged with shoplifting can expect
to receive plea bargain offers that do no result in permanent public criminal
records, such as Disorderly Conduct (PL 240.20, a violation) or an "ACD"
(adjournment in contemplation of dismissal), in exchange for the performance
of community service or attendance at a rehabilitation program called
Stoplift. If the property alleged to have been stolen is more than $400 or $500,
then the initial offers tend to be more like Disorderly Conduct as opposed to
ACDs, which are typically considered more desirable. A skilled defense attorney can sometimes negotiate ACDs where Disorderly
Conduct is first offered, or even shorten the sealing period of an ACD
from the standard six months (under certain circumstances).
These charges and plea dispositions can have serious unseen consequences
for certain types of professionals, however. In particular, finance professoinals have to
disclose these arrests on their U4 forms and some employees of FDIC-insured-institutions might even become ineligible
to work in the industry. If this applies to you, you should contact Galluzzo
& Arnone immediately, as they are experts in handling cases such as
these for finance professionals.
These charges and plea dispositions can also have serious consequences
for non-citizens with visas or looking to renew or obtain visas. We have
seen individuals unable to renew or obtain their visas while these charges
were pending, and convictions for these crimes can potentially render
someone inadmissible into the United States. If this applies to you, you
should contact Galluzzo & Arnone immediately, as they are experts
in working with foreign citizens. In fact, their office serves as the
official go-to criminal defense counsel for the Consulates of France,
Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, and Australia.
Many other individuals facing professional licensure (doctors, lawyers,
etc.) and educators employed byt the NYC Department of Education can also
have their professional careers interrupted by arrests like these. If
this applies to you, you should contact our office, as we have successfully
helped countless professionals in these industries return to work despite
To learn more about the potential collateral consequences for non-citizens,
To learn more about the potential consequences for FINRA-licensed brokers
or employees at FDIC-insured institutions, click here.
To learn more about arrests at major New York retail stores like Macy's,
Bloomingdale's, and Century 21, click here.
To learn more about shoplifting civil demands from stores like
Macy's, Bloomingdale's, and Century 21, click here.
To learn more about Desk Appearance Tickets for Shoplifting at NYC Midtown
Community Court, click here.
To learn more about what to do if you
missed your court date, click here.