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Can I Return Stolen Items After Shoplifting Charges In New York?


Many shoplifters feel guilty about their offenses and wonder if they can return items. These regrets often occur only after defendants have been charged with theft in New York, however. Regardless, it is important to understand what the effect of such actions might be in Rockland County. Will your sentence be reduced if you return the stolen items? Is it possible to negotiate with prosecutors if you find yourself in this situation?

Only Prosecutors Can Drop Charges 

It is important to understand that only prosecutors have the authority to drop charges against you. Even if you return the stolen items and the store agrees that you’re “all square,” they have no ability to influence the criminal justice system. In some cases, they may request that the case be dropped against you – but this is actually quite rare in corporate America today. Most of the major retailers in the United States have a strict prosecution policy against shoplifting, as it is in their best interests to deter these crimes as much as possible.

Can Returning Items Help Negotiations with Prosecutors? 

That said, cooperating with prosecutors and returning stolen items could help negotiations with prosecutors. This might send a message that you are willing to accept your wrongdoing and put things right. If you return the stolen items and negate the financial losses suffered by the store, you might receive a more lenient sentence – and perhaps you will be ordered to carry out community service. Note that a conviction would likely result in an order for you to pay restitution or return the stolen items anyway – so an offer to return the property might not give you much leverage in a negotiation.

The Danger of Returning Stolen Items 

Returning stolen items is always a smart and ethical choice, but it may also incriminate you. Returning the stolen items is an inherent admission that you carried out the theft, and it could guarantee legal consequences. You might consider working alongside a qualified defense attorney before making any hasty decisions. The evidence against you might be very thin, and you might have the ability to escape criminal charges. If you still feel guilty about taking possession of the items, you can always return them anonymously after your charges have been dropped.

Working with a qualified defense attorney can also help you negotiate with prosecutors in an effective manner – perhaps raising the possibility of returning stolen goods in exchange for more lenient sentences.

Find a Qualified, Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Rockland County 

If you have been searching for a qualified, experienced New City shoplifting defense attorney, look no further than Phillip J. Murphy, Attorney at Law. Over the years, we have helped defendants throughout New York – including those accused of shoplifting. We know that many defendants want to do the right thing – and negotiating with prosecutors is certainly possible. Book your consultation today to determine the most appropriate defense strategy based on your unique situation.




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Phillip J. Murphy,
Attorney At Law
Free Consultations Calls Answered and returned 24/7 Phone: (845) 639-6600 Fax: (845) 639-6620

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New City, New York 10956

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Phillip J. Murphy, Attorney At Law is located in New City, New York and serves clients in and around New York, New Jersey & Connecticut. Contact our experienced criminal defense law firm.
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