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  • Published: November 17, 2023

Caught At The Self-Checkout: Your Guide To Handling Shoplifting Charges In New York

Introduction: The Self-Checkout Dilemma

Picture this: You’re at your local Wal-Mart, navigating the self-checkout machines like any other day. But this time, something goes wrong, and before you know it, you’re accused of shoplifting. This scenario is becoming all too common in New York, as arrests for shoplifting at self-checkout machines, legally known as Petit Larceny (OR Grand Larceny depending on the dollar value of the merchandise alleged to have been stolen,) are skyrocketing. But fear not, because there are hidden defenses and options available to protect your rights and your future.

The Rising Trend: Shoplifting at Self-Checkout

In recent years, shoplifting at self-checkout machines has surged in big-box stores across New York. Retail giants like Wal-Mart are employing technology and staff to deter potential shoplifters (an October 13, 2023, New York Post article titled “Walmart’s Bid to Cut Shoplifting at self-checkout Counters Leads to Surge in ‘Hostile’ Encounters with Customers” recently highlighted this.). Store employees are actively monitoring self-checkout registers, and they’re getting better at spotting suspicious behavior. Some tactics, according the New York Post article, include disabling self-checkout registers, making them appear faulty, and redirecting the suspected shoplifter to a manned cashier register. These measures have resulted in an increase in hostile encounters between store employees and accused shoplifters.

Understanding the Legal Landscape: Specific Intent vs. General Intent Crimes

Shoplifting, or Petit Larceny, falls into a somewhat rare category of crime in the world of criminal law. Shoplifting falls under the category of Specific Intent Crimes, a rarity in comparison to the more common General Intent Crimes. What does this mean for you? Specific Intent Crimes require the prosecution to prove that you not only committed the act but also had a specific intent or purpose in doing so.

This distinction opens the door to a few additional defenses with a Specific Intent Crime that can be used to challenge the charges against you. It’s essential to recognize that not all shoplifting cases are the same, and the circumstances and availability of additional defenses rely upon the facts alleged in your case and can make a significant difference in how your case is resolved.

Resolving Shoplifting Cases Without a Trial

One misconception is that a shoplifting arrest automatically leads to extensive court Hearings and a trial. While trials are possible, the vast majority of shoplifting cases are resolved without extensive Hearings (typically a few “calendar” type appearances where the police officer or witnesses involved in your arrest are not present.)  The outcome of your case depends on several factors, including your prior criminal record and the specific circumstances of your arrest.

Alternative resolutions, such as plea bargains, diversion programs, or even outright dismissal, are often available for first-time offenders or those facing relatively minor charges. Your attorney can negotiate on your behalf to achieve the best possible outcome, sparing you the stress and uncertainty of a trial.

Your Trusted Ally: Attorney Randall F. Inniss

When facing shoplifting charges in the Hudson Valley, New York region, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands the nuances of these cases. Attorney Randall F. Inniss of The Inniss Firm, PLLC, is uniquely qualified to represent you. With 22 years of experience as a former state trooper, he brings an unparalleled perspective to your defense.

Randall F. Inniss knows both sides of the law, having been on the front lines of law enforcement and now dedicating his career to defending individuals like you. His expertise, coupled with a deep understanding of the legal system, positions him as your strongest advocate during this challenging time.

Contact Us Today: Protect Your Future

If you find yourself facing shoplifting charges in the Hudson Valley, New York area, including Orange, Dutchess, Rockland, Ulster, Westchester, Putnam, and Sullivan counties, don’t hesitate to reach out to Attorney Randall F. Inniss at The Inniss Firm, PLLC. We are here to guide you through the legal process and protect your rights.

You can visit us at XTROOPER.com for more information, or you can contact Attorney Randall F. Inniss directly at 845.533.0265. Your future is worth safeguarding, and we are here to help you every step of the way. Don’t face these charges alone – trust an experienced attorney who knows both sides of the law to fight for your rights and your future.

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