Queens County Petit Larceny (Shoplifting)
By Don Murray, New York Criminal Defense Attorney
Queens County approaches petit larceny (shoplifting) cases in its own way. Primarily driven by the proseuction policies of the District Attorney's Office, the approach to petit larceny in Queens is one that, as a general rule, will be merciful to those who have no criminal history. That mercy can take a number of different possible forms in Queens County petit larceny cases for those with no prior criminal history.
Nevertheless, in Queens, the District Attorney's Office generally prefers that people with no prior arrests for petit larceny participate in a one day class nicknamed "Stoplift". The class charges a fee, and at the conclusion of the class the participant gets a certificate. In Queens, if the District Attorney is looking for the accused person to take the "Stoplift" class, the plea or the ACD will be taken and the person will be required to return to court at a later date to show proof that the program was completed. A private petit larceny lawyer from Shalley and Murray can often get permission to file that proof on behalf of the client so that the client can avoid making another trip to court. In other counties outside Queens, the accused must first complete the "Stoplift" program and only then will the Court accept the resolution.
Sometimes, in Queens, it may be possible to avoid the "Stoplift" program if the person shows proof of having paid the civil penalty sometimes sought by merchants in situations in which people are charged with petit larceny.
For those charged with Petit Larceny (shoplifting) in Queens who have been arrested for petit larceny before, the Queens District Attorney's Office is not so merciful and the "Stoplift" program will not likely be made available as an option. The Queens District Attorney's Office will generally seek more severe penalties for those accused of petit larceny in the past, and depending on the number of prior offenses could be looking for criminal convition and even jail.
The important thing to remember for those accused of petit larceny in Queens is that, if you have never been arrested before, the District Attorney's office is not likely to be looking to give you a criminal record or send you to jail. As long as the matter is handled appropriately, and you and your lawyer work through the potential possibilities of collateral consequences, Queens is likely to be merciful upon you.