All shoplifting is a crime and comes with consequences

Shock was on the face of many fans when the wealthy Hollywood actress Winona Ryder was arrested for shoplifting. Shoplifting, legally termed petty theft, is thought of as a crime committed by people on the other end of the socio-economic scale. But the act remains the same. Shoplifting is stealing something from a store. You take something that does not belong to you from a store without paying for it, or you try to. Shoplifting also includes the act of switching labels on merchandise in order to get a lower price for something you intend to purchase.

All shoplifting is a crime and comes with consequences. Depending on the value of the property stolen, shoplifting can be a serious crime. A person’s prior criminal record in regards to theft is also considered. If the individual accused of the crime has prior convictions on record, they may face felony charges for the theft of a relatively inexpensive item.

The value of the item is a consideration when charges are pressed in a shoplifting case. If the stolen items are valued under $400, the defendant will be charged with a misdemeanor. First offenses of shoplifting are frequently charged as misdemeanors and are punishable by a small fine and up to three year of informal probation, even for a teen or juvenile offender. In some situations, a first shoplifting offense can be reduced to an infraction. This eliminates any criminal record that may cause unwanted consequences in the defendant’s future life. A period of forty years did nothing to alleviate the effects of a cause made in the long ago past for this unfortunate woman.

Shoplifting Consequences in the Future

A middle aged woman had received recognition rewards, service excellence pins and other accolades over a period of five years for her work as a customer service representative in the home mortgage department of a large national bank.

Then suddenly, she was terminated. The bank had discovered that the woman had been arrested for shoplifting 40 years ago when she was 18.

The bank said it had no choice but to sever ties with employees found to have certain types of criminal records.

“Because our bank is an insured depository institution, we are bound by federal law that generally prohibits us from hiring or continuing the employment of any person who we know has a criminal record involving dishonesty or breach of trust,” a bank spokesman told a local newspaper.

Daniel R. Perlman
The Law Offices of Daniel R. Perlman