What to Expect if You Are Caught Shoplifting in New Mexico
Shoplifting is a crime that can get you jail time, fines, and a criminal record in New Mexico. If you have been arrested or charged with shoplifting, the severity of the penalties you are facing depends on the value of the property you are accused of stealing.
In any case, it is in your best interest to speak with a New Mexico shoplifting defense lawyer, and the sooner you do so, the better. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys at New Mexico Criminal Law Offices are well-versed in all possible defenses against shoplifting charges. We have the knowledge, experience, and skills to thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding your arrest, examine the evidence against you, and identify the flaws in the prosecution’s case.
New Mexico Shoplifting Criminal Law
The shoplifting section of the New Mexico statutes, NMSA 1978 Section 30-16-20, specifies the degree of the crime in relation to the value of the merchandise the defendant is accused of shoplifting as follows:
- $250 or less: Petty Misdemeanor
- More than $250 but not more than $500: Misdemeanor
- More than $500 but not more than $2,500: Fourth Degree Felony
- More than $2,500 but not more than $20,000: Third Degree Felony
- More than $20,000: Second Degree Felony
Under the law, you cannot be charged with an additional or separate offense arising out of the same transaction.
Pre Prosecution Diversion Programs
When shoplifting is charged as a felony, a defendant may be eligible for a Pre Prosecution Diversion Program (PPD) designed for first-time, nonviolent felony offenders, as an alternative to trial and/or jail time. A PPD involves probation, community service, restitution (if applicable), regular reporting in person or by phone, and a PPD monthly fee, which can range from $15 to $85.
Civil Liability for Shoplifting in New Mexico
In addition to criminal penalties, you should be aware of the potential for a civil lawsuit in a shoplifting matter. A merchant or the property owner can sue for the value of the property (unless it was returned undamaged), plus court costs, attorney fees, and punitive damages – designed to punish the defendant – of not less than $100 or more than $250, under New Mexico law, NMSA 1978 Section 30-16-21.
Shoplifting Criminal Defense in New Mexico
Whether shoplifting is charged as a petty misdemeanor, a second degree felony, or anything in between, a conviction can give you a criminal record and have a negative impact on the rest of your life. It makes sense to retain an experienced New Mexico shoplifting defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest.
At New Mexico Criminal Law Offices, we have been defending New Mexico people facing criminal charges since 1997, with outstanding case results and a track record that commands the respect of prosecutors and judges. Our number one goal is to do everything possible to obtain favorable results for our clients. If you are facing shoplifting charges in Albuquerque or anywhere in New Mexico, contact us today for a free initial case consultation.