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  • Do I Need a Lawyer for a Shoplifting Arrest?

    Posted on by JACK MKHITARIAN

    shopliftingA shoplifting charge may seem petty, but it is absolutely not. Shoplifters face serious criminal penalties in the state of New Mexico – including jail time and fines. Also, in addition to your criminal penalties, you could also face civil damages from victimized merchants.

    What the Law States

    In New Mexico, shoplifting is a crime with serious penalties. It is committed when a person intentionally conceals merchandise or takes something with the intent of not paying for it. The severity of the penalties will increase with the value of the merchandise, and a shoplifter can also be sued in civil court by the owner of that merchandise.

    Criminal Penalties for Shoplifting

    New Mexico strives to limit financial losses for their merchants, which is why the state uses harsher penalties for shoplifting crimes, including:

    • Shoplifting with a total of less than $250. This is a petty misdemeanor that includes fines up to $500 and jail for up to six months.
    • Shoplifting property with a value of $250 to $500. This is a misdemeanor that includes fines up to $1,000 and/or jail for up to 364 days.
    • Shoplifting property with a value of $500, but less than $2,500. This is a Felony in the Fourth Degree and includes fines up to $5,000 as well as up to 18 months in jail.
    • Shoplifting property with a value of $2,500, but less than $20,000. This is a Felony in the Third Degree and comes with fines up to $5,000 and up to three years in jail.
    • Shoplifting property with a value of more than $20,000. This is considered a second degree felony. With this conviction comes fines up to $10,000 and jail of up to nine years.

    Civil Penalties Apply, Too

    Often, merchants will file civil suits against those who steal their property, especially when they have a minimum of $200 in damages. Damages can include pain and suffering and financial losses, as well as any physical damage to the stolen property or retail store at the time of the theft. If the shoplifter is a minor, the merchant can still sue their legal guardians or parents for:

    • Three times the actual damages encountered,
    • Attorney’s fees (within reason), and
    • Court costs.

    Speak with an Attorney Today

    Never assume that an arrest or possible criminal charge is “minor.” Instead, hire a New Mexico criminal defense attorney for your shoplifting arrest. New Mexico Criminal Law Offices will aggressively fight for your rights. We are available to help you with your arrest today. Contact us online or call us at 505-375-4661. You can also ask a question via our online contact form.