Of those who are arrested in Manhattan for shoplifting and directed to appear in Midtown Community Court in New York City, we often encounter clients who fail to take the situation they are in seriously. These clients are arrested and issued Desk Appearance Tickets (D.A.T.s) and then released without going through the unpleasant experience of being transported to Central Booking. As we've stressed before in prior blogs, the D.A.T. is to be taken seriously – this blog deals specifically with appearance tickets issued in cases involving shoplifting where defendants are directed to appear in Midtown Court, located at 314 West 54th Street.
In the typical shoplifting case, the defendant is observed by store security guards (usually on camera in larger department stores such as Bloomingdale's and Macy's) either conceal merchandise openly on camera, or go to an area of the store where the cameras cannot film them and secret the items on their person, only to emerge seemingly empty-handed. Store security stops the individuals before they exit the store without paying (the law doesn't require that they actually make it out of the store – a larceny only requires a "moving" of the property with an intent to permanently deprive the owner of it) and the police are notified. Usually, in cases where a New York State resident with valid identification with no arrest record is caught shoplifting, responding police officers will issue a Desk Appearance Ticket in lieu of "putting the accused through the system", meaning they get to avoid sitting in a holding cell downtown for at least 24 hours before seeing a judge. This is where we see clients fail to take the situation seriously – ("they just gave me a ticket, what's the big deal?") – but the truth of the matter is these clients are generally charged with two class "A" misdemeanors, both of which are punishable by up to one year in jail – petit larceny, and its accompanying charge, criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree. Those charges are listed below:
§ 155.25 Petit larceny.
A person is guilty of petit larceny when he steals property.
Petit larceny is a class A misdemeanor.
§ 165.40 Criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree.
A person is guilty of criminal possession of stolen property in the
fifth degree when he knowingly possesses stolen property, with intent to
benefit himself or a person other than an owner thereof or to impede the
recovery by an owner thereof.
Criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree is a class
The accused shoplifters in these cases are directed to appear several weeks later at 314 West 54th Street at 9:30 a.m. to be arraigned on criminal charges. If no disposition is worked out by a lawyer on that day, all of the cases are then adjourned to continue towards trial at the Criminal Court on 100 Centre Street.
There are two primarily concerns that we stress to our clients in these cases – one is that their failure to appear on the return date in Midtown Court will result in a warrant being issued for their arrest (not a good thing). The other is that it is imperative to avoid incurring a criminal record in every case possible. In other words, if you've been charged with Petit Larceny and/or Criminal Possession of Stolen Property, it is important to hire an attorney who can work out a disposition for you which does NOT include a plea to any crime. The imposition of a criminal record is a devastating thing and can have serious collateral consequences.
At Galluzzo & Arnone LLP, our team of former NYC prosecutors are experienced in dealing with these specific cases, both on the prosecution side and on the defense side – and have handled many cases at Midtown Community Court, which we are very familiar with. We have represented individuals from all walks of life and secured the bests results for them. If you or a loved one has been issued a D.A.T., don’t just call a shoplifting lawyer – contact our lawyers immediately and schedule a free consultation. Do not risk incurring a criminal record and jeopardizing your future.’
“Shoplifting Desk Appearance Tickets and NYC Midtown Community Court”