What You Need to Know About Shoplifting Charges

You’ll be glad you fought back against shoplifting charges

If you have been charged with shoplifting, you may be tempted to plead guilty, pay the fine, and move on with your life. But did you know that the punishment becomes more severe if you are charged with another theft in the future? First offenders have the easiest path to getting shoplifting charges dropped. Take a proactive step and call the Law Offices of Keren Goldenberg today to keep your record clean.

Schedule a free consultation with Attorney Keren Goldenberg through our online contact form, or by phone: 978-221-2503 (Lowell), 617-431-2701 (Belmont).

The Definition of Shoplifting May Surprise You

When shoplifting comes to mind, you might think of someone physically taking goods out of a shop without paying. Legally, shoplifting charges include many other offenses which may seem less severe than outright theft. In the eyes of the court, however, they can be just as serious. Some examples include:

  • Asking someone to steal on your behalf
  • Eating food while shopping
  • Taking a shopping cart
  • Changing a price tag or label

How Shoplifting Charges are Determined

Shoplifting charges differ depending on the monetary value of the item(s) taken. In Massachusetts, a misdemeanor larceny charge applies to cases where the shoplifted goods amount to $249 or less. If the goods are worth upwards of $250, then the charge would be grand larceny, a felony. Punishments for shoplifting increase in severity if you have a previous conviction. The list below breaks down what that means:

  • Misdemeanor Larceny: Shoplifted goods amount to $249 or less
    • First offense: a fine up to $250
    • Second offense: a fine between $100-500
    • Third Offense: a fine up to $500, and jail time up to two years, or both
  • Grand Larceny: Shoplifted goods amount to $250 or more

Before you panic, take heart: even if you were taped on a security camera or caught red-handed, there’s still a path to winning your case. Proven defense lawyer Keren Goldenberg is prepared to defend your rights.

Time Tested Strategies

There are many approaches to mounting a successful defense against shoplifting charges. Below are a handful of winning defense strategies Attorney Goldenberg has perfected over her two decades in the courts: 

  • Refute the value of shoplifted goods (if their actual value is inflated by the prosecutor)
  • Preserve favorable evidence
  • Suppress negative evidence
  • Object to claims of probable cause

If you have been accused and not yet arrested, Attorney Goldenberg can challenge charges being heard at a preliminary Clerk-Magistrate’s Hearing (also known as a Show Cause Hearing). These hearings present an opportunity to avoid being formally charged and ending up in front of a judge. At this stage, Attorney Goldenberg can argue there was no probable cause to support the charge. Through this approach, Attorney Goldenberg has been able to completely clear a client’s record because a complaint was never issued.

Empathetic with Clients, Fierce in the Courtroom

Don’t let shoplifting charges scare you. Keren Goldenberg is prepared to do whatever it takes to get you the best possible outcome. Contact the office online for a free consultation or call the numbers listed below.


The Law Offices of Keren Goldenberg

97 Central St. #403

Lowell, MA 01852


The Law Offices of Keren Goldenberg

19A Alexander Ave.

Belmont, MA 02478



With Offices in Lowell and Belmont • Call Us Now!(978) 221-2503