The police often arrest people in the District of Columbia for theft and shoplifting. A conviction for these charges can carry serious criminal consequences. Having a conviction for theft or shoplifting can have severe collateral consequences on future employment opportunities, housing, immigration status, and much more. It is crucial that these charges are taken seriously and are fought aggressively by experienced theft attorneys. At Bruckheim & Patel, you will find experienced DC theft lawyers who will fight for your rights at every stage of your case.

It is crucial that you contact an attorney following your arrest for theft or shoplifting. The experienced DC theft attorneys at Bruckheim & Patel will immediately be able to begin developing a legal strategy specifically tailored to the facts of your case. The earlier you contact Bruckheim & Patel, the sooner they can start developing your defense and ensuring the best possible outcome in your case.

Common types of theft charges are: (1) theft in the first degree- felony; (2) theft in the second degree- misdemeanor; and (3) shoplifting- misdemeanor.

THEFT IN THE FIRST DEGREE

In DC, felony theft is called theft in the first degree. This is charged when the theft involves property that has a value of $1,000 or more.

In order to convict a person of theft in the first degree, the government must prove three elements. First, the government must prove that the person took the property of someone else. Second, the government must prove that the person took that property with the intent to permanently take the property from the owner. Third, the government must prove that the property taken has a value of $1,000 or more. DC Code §§ 22-3211, 22-3212.

The punishment for theft in the first degree is imprisonment for up to 10 years and/or a fine of $25,000. DC Code § 22-3212. This punishment can be increased if the person has two or more prior theft convictions.

THEFT IN THE SECOND DEGREE

In DC, misdemeanor theft is called theft in the second degree and involves property that has a value of $999 or less.

In order to convict a person of theft in the second degree, the government must prove three elements. The first two are the same elements as theft in the first degree: the person took the property of another with the intent to permanently deprive that person of the property. The third element that the government has to prove for theft in the second degree is that the property has the value of $0.01 to $999. DC Code §§ 22-3211, 22-3212.

The punishment for misdemeanor theft is imprisonment of less than 180 days and/or a fine of $1,000. DC Code § 22-3212. This punishment can be increased if the person has two or more prior theft convictions.

SHOPLIFTING

In DC, shoplifting is a misdemeanor that usually involves a person taking property that is for sale without completely paying for that property.

A person can be convicted of shoplifting if the government can prove that he or she committed any of the following acts: (1) knowingly concealed the property for the purpose to take it without paying; (2) knowingly removed or altered a price tag, serial number, or other identification mark on the property; or (3) knowingly took the property out of its display packaging or container. DC Code § 22-3213(a). However, an attempt to commit any of these acts is not sufficient enough for a shoplifting conviction. DC Code § 22-3213(c).

A store employee can legally hold someone that they believe is shoplifting as long as the manner and the length of the detention is reasonable and as long as the police is notified within a “reasonable time.” DC Code § 22-3213(d).

The punishment for shoplifting is imprisonment for 90 days and/or a fine of $500. DC Code § 22-3213(b).

If you have been charged with theft or shoplifting in the District of Columbia, contact the experienced and professional DC theft attorneys at Bruckheim & Patel. Do not risk your freedom or your money. Our DC theft lawyers can provide you with a free initial consultation. Call 202-930-3464 to speak with our experienced lawyers today.