Felony Shoplifting Process Arrest to Indictment: Potentially Quick & Painful

Any felony theft crime in New York, whether a Grand Larceny Extortion, Grand Larceny Embezzlement or Grand Larceny Shoplift, has the potential to be devastating in a short period of time. In fact, if bail is set and you are kept in custody, prosecutors must vote out an indictment within 144 hours of your arrest. If not, prosecutors know that you may be released. In such cases, prosecutors frequently would rather have an indicted defendant than one walking the streets of New York City or the metropolitan area. The last thing you or your family wants to see is a rush to judgment. As repeatedly asserted by one of our former chiefs in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, “an indictment lasts forever.” A record that last forever is precisely why you and your criminal attorney are implementing a vigorous defense without delay and from the onset of your case.

Felony Shoplifting Phase One: Arrest to Arraignment

Generally, when you are arrested for misdemeanor shoplifting (New York Penal Law 155.25 and / or New York Penal Law 165.40) or felony shoplifting (New York Penal Law 155.30 or 155.35 and / or New York Penal Law 165.45 or 165.50), a store detective or store security guard stops and searches you. While in their custody, store security often intimidates you in a coercive manner to sign a civil forfeiture and a trespass affidavit. Somewhere in the bowels of the store you are held until the police come.

Once the police arrive, you are transported to the precinct where you are printed and photographed. Within twenty four hours you are brought before a judge in the New York City Criminal Court. Alternatively, you may be given a Desk Appearance Ticket. While no guarantee, retaining counsel who can meet you prior to being “brought up” to see the judge, can potentially expedite this process. Moreover, your criminal defense attorney can attempt to gather information and start developing your defense during what may be a critical stage in the felony process. If nothing else, waiting in the “tombs” with alleged drug dealers or weapon traffickers is no one’s idea of time well spent.

Phase Two: Seeing the Judge to Indictment

Upon seeing the judge, you will formally be advised of the charges. Bail may then be set. In short, within no more than twenty four hours of your arrest, you will officially be charged with felony crimes. Going forward, it is imperative that you and your criminal lawyer formulate a plan because once you are arraigned, prosecutors can (and often will) present your case to the Grand Jury. A Grand Jury presentation is a secret proceeding that may occur without your knowledge. Should you wish to exercise your right to testify before that body (this if often called your “190.50 rights”), it is critical that your shoplifting attorney advise, in writing, the prosecution about your desire. Even assuming you ultimately determine that testifying before the Grand Jury is not the right defense for you, at a minimum it forces the District Attorney’s Office to reach out to you before starting their secret proceeding. Remember, in the event you remain in custody, you can be indicted within 144 hours.

Phase Three: Avoiding Indictment & Moving Forward

Should you avoid an indictment after making bail or being released, you and your criminal lawyer must formulate a defense if you have not done so already. Unfortunately, many shoplifting cases - both misdemeanor and felony - are not only relatively strong because you may have been stopped with the property outside of the store or admitted to the offense, but many legal arguments are difficult to make. In part, this is because a private person, not law enforcement, stopped and searched you. As a result, mitigation may be the best way to try to avoid any criminal record or incarceration. Obviously, should there be legal or evidentiary grounds to challenge the allegations, the experienced eye of a criminal lawyer will likely identify the issue. Make no mistake, you and your counsel will have a significant amount of work to do, but with the correct steps and moves, what appears like a defenseless case can be one with a viable and potent mitigation defense.

In short, when arrested for a felony shoplifting crime in New York City (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens or the Bronx) or the suburban counties such as Westchester, you must move quickly to avoid what can be a devastating and career ending price to pay for a brief lapse in judgment. Should you exercise your 190.50 rights? Should you consent to speedy trial time to try for mitigation? What other options are there and when should you pursue them? How can the right New York criminal lawyer help you?

For detailed information on the New York City arrest process, follow the highlighted link to Crotty Saland PC’s main website at CrottySaland.Com.

To educate yourself on felony and misdemeanor shoplifting crimes as well as other theft and larceny offenses in New York, review the NewYorkCriminalLawyerBlog.Com and the NewYorkTheftandLarcenyLawyersBlog.Com. Each of these resources, maintained by the criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC, is rich with criminal statutes and legal decisions involving these and related crimes.

Contact the New York Criminal Lawyers & Shoplifting Attorneys Online or at 212.312.7129 Now.