New York Shoplifting from Kohl's
Kohl's is one of the largest department stores in the United States with over 50 locations in New York state and billions of dollars in sales. It also has a problem with shoplifters. As a result, Kohl's has honed aggressive and efficient strategies to stop suspected shoplifters, including hiring numerous security guards and installing security cameras. Under the New York Penal Code shoplifting is classified as a type of larceny. There are two types of larceny: grand larceny and petit larceny. Petit larceny is the charge most often applied in cases of shoplifting. In their zeal to identify shoplifters, Kohl's security guards sometimes utilize dubious tactics that can lead to petit larceny charges that are not always justifiable. If you were arrested for shoplifting at Kohl's, you should contact an experienced New York Shoplifting from Kohl's Lawyer who is familiar with Kohl's tactics for identifying and detaining suspected shoplifters and who will aggressively defend you against Kohl's claims that you shoplifted.
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In New York shoplifting is a type of larceny. Larceny is a type of theft and is a crime. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.05. If you are convicted of larceny you could end up jail and you will have a criminal record. Whether you are charged with petit larceny or grand larceny depends on the value of the property you are accused of shoplifting. If the property has a value of less than $1,000 the criminal charge will be petit larceny. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.25. However, if you are accused of shoplifting merchandise from Kohl's that has a total value of $1000 or more, then you will be charged with grand larceny. Grand larceny is a much more serious crime than petit larceny as grand larceny is a felony while petit larceny is a misdemeanor. The penalty for grand larceny can be much more severe than the penalty for petit larceny.
Kohl's enjoys what is referred to as the "shopkeepers privilege." This means that if Kohl's has good reason to think that you have shoplifted, then Kohl's security guards have the right to detain you. In detaining you, however, Kohl's security guards must be reasonable. Kohl's has to have a good reason to detain you, such as observing you putting unpaid for merchandise in your pocket or bag. It is not permitted to randomly select customers to detain, or to detain customers based solely on factors such as race or ethnicity.
If you are detained as a suspected shoplifter at Kohl's, the security guard will try to get you to confess. They will use many strategies, including telling you things that may or may not be true. For example, the security guard may tell you that they will not call the police if you sign a confession, or they may tell you that they have videotape that shows you stealing. If you are detained along with friends, the Kohl's security guards will separate you from your friends and tell you that your friends confessed and that you should confess as well. Regardless of what the security guard tells you, the best course of action is for you to refrain from verbally confessing, writing a confession, or signing a confession.
In some cases Kohl's will not call the police, but will let you go after telling you that you must pay restitution for the items you were accused of stealing. In other cases Kohl's will call the police so that you will be arrested. The police will either take you into custody or issue you a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT). The DAT is a summons to appear in New York Criminal Court at a specified day, time and place. The DAT clearly states that the consequences of failing to appear is that a warrant will be issued for your arrest. Should you not appear at the stated date and time, the judge will issue a warrant for arrest. The DAT will state the charge. In the case of shoplifting the charge will be petit larceny or grand larceny. However, once you appear in court, you may learn that the prosecutor decided to add one or more additional charges such as criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree. N.Y. Pen. Law §§ 165.40
The penalties for a larceny conviction or a criminal possession of stolen property conviction can be significant. Both petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree are Class A misdemeanors. The penalties range from fines to up to a year in jail. The penalties for a conviction of grand larceny in the fourth degree or criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree, both Class E felonies, range from fines to up to 4 years in prison. Your sentence will depend on a number of factors including whether or not you have a prior criminal record. However, depending on the circumstances of your case and your criminal history, the prosecutor may agree to a plea bargain, to reduce the charges, or to dismiss you case altogether.
Like most retailers Kohl's is committed to stopping shoplifting in its stores. This causes Kohl's security guards to sometimes be over zealous in trying to apprehend suspected shoplifters and as a result the security guards sometimes get it wrong. If you are convicted of shoplifting the rest of your life will be impacted. You could end up in jail and be subject to fines. You will have a criminal record that may cause you to lose your job, or may make it difficult to find a new job. Thus, it is important to have experienced representation throughout your case to ensure the best possible result given the facts of your case. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who are accused of shoplifting from Kohl's as well as other retail establishments. In addition, we have also successfully represented clients charged with other crimes of theft such as burglary, robbery, and credit card fraud. Contact us at 1.800.NY.NY.LAW (1.800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.