The crime of shoplifting is defined by Massachusetts G.L. c. 266 s. 30A. The law provides that anyone who intentionally takes possession of, carries away, transfers or causes to be carried away or transferred, any merchandise possessed by a store with the intention of deriving the merchant of the possession or use of benefit of such merchandise without paying to the merchant the value thereof shall be punishable under this section. The law also dictates that anyone who engages in label-switching, tag altering, container switching, the theft of shopping carts and other means of obtaining merchandise for less than retail value shall be punishable under this section as well. The penalties associated with this law are separated regarding the amount of value of the goods obtained.
Any offender of this law shall be subject to the following penalties if the value of the goods obtained is less than $100:
- First Offense: A fine not to exceed $250
- Second Offense: A fine not less than $100 nor more than $500
- Third or Subsequent Offense: A Fine of not more than $500, or imprisonment in a jail for not more than 2 years, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
- A fine of not more than $1,000, or
- Imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2.5 years, or
- Both such fine and imprisonment
In order for a defendant to be convicted of the crime of shoplifting, the prosecution must be able to prove three things beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant intentionally took possession of, carried away or transferred, or caused to be carried away or transferred retail merchandise;
- The defendant did so with an intent to deprive the merchant of its possession, use of benefit, or with an intent to convert it to his or her own use without having paid full value for it; and
- The merchandise was owned or possessed by someone other than the defendant.
Strategic Massachusetts Shoplifting Defense Attorney
Regardless of whether you forgot to pay for something, or had a momentary lapse in judgment, it is important to remember that everyone makes mistakes. In fact, with the help of a skilled Massachusetts shoplifting defense attorney, an alleged shoplifting or larceny offender may be able to avoid criminal penalties or have their case dismissed under certain instances. If you've been accused of shoplifting you will need an experienced Boston, Massachusetts criminal defense attorney who will fight vigorously on your behalf. The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy has substantial trial experience defending clients accused of shoplifting and larceny offenses, and is ready, willing and able to put that experience to work for you. Don’t jeopardize your future; contact the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy immediately for a free legal assessment of your case by calling 617-367-0450 or submitting the online contact form directly to Attorney Murphy.