Shoplifting in New Hampshire
Most people think of shoplifting as a low-level offense that you wouldn’t need a lawyer to handle. While this might be true in a number of cases, the truth is usually more complicated, and the charges can be far more serious than you might realize.
How is shoplifting defined in New Hampshire?
Shoplifting is the common term “willful concealment”, which means covertly taking property that doesn’t belong for you from a business or store, with the intention of permanently keeping it.
What kind of a charge is “shoplifting” or “willful concealment” in New Hampshire? What are the potential penalties?
The act of shoplifting can lead to a number of different types of charges, depending on the circumstances of the case. One major factor in determining shoplifting charges is the value of the stolen item or items. Generally, the higher the cost of the items, the more serious the offense. However, there are other factors that may affect the charges as well.
If the combined cost of the items is less than $1,000, then you could be charged with a misdemeanor offense. The potential penalties for this type of shoplifting charge can be as high as a fine of $2,000 and up to a year in jail.
If the combined cost of the items is between $1,000 and $1,500, you could be charged with a Class B Felony. You might also be charged with a Class B felony if you have two or more prior theft convictions, if you stole from at least three separate business establishments within a 72-hour period, or if you stole property with the intent to resell or distribute that property to others (or if you stole more than would usually be purchased for personal use or consumption). The potential penalties for this type of shoplifting charge can be as high as a fine of $4,000 and up to seven years in prison.
If the combined cost of the items is more than $1,500, you could be charged with a Class A Felony. You could also be charged with Class A Felony shoplifting if the item you stole was a firearm, or if you were armed with a deadly weapon during the theft. The penalties for this sort of shoplifting charge can run as high as a $4,000 fine and up to 15 years in prison.
Do I have to successfully remove merchandise from a store in order to be prosecuted for shoplifting in New Hampshire?
No. It is possible to be charged with shoplifting even if you do not manage to remove the item from the store. The prosecution simply has to prove that you willfully concealed the item with the intent taking it without the owner’s position, depriving the owner of the item and its value. This means that you can be charged with shoplifting for simply placing an item in your clothes or bag, or even hiding it inside another item you are purchasing.
You can also be charged with shoplifting for intentionally altering the price or security tags on an item in order to take the item and/or pay less for it than the stated price.
I’m facing shoplifting charges in New Hampshire. What should I do?
If you have been charged with shoplifting in New Hampshire, your first priority is to call an experienced, knowledgeable New Hampshire defense attorney who is experienced in handling shoplifting cases. These charges can be very serious, and you don’t want to leave your case up to chance. A New Hampshire shoplifting attorney can help ensure that you get the best outcome possible, and can help you avoid lasting damage from a momentary mistake.
If you are facing shoplifting charges in Nashua, New Hampshire, call Criminal Defense Attorney Robert Bartis at (603) 880-1300 for a personalized case consultation today.
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