The Legal Definition of Shoplifting in Massachusetts

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According to the Massachusetts General Laws, the crime of shoplifting includes:

The act of knowingly removing any goods that are for sale in a retail store with the intention of not paying the owner of the store the full value for the goods.

In other words, shoplifting laws punish the act of taking or stealing something, or otherwise attempting to deprive a retail store of the full value of its merchandise.

Massachusetts shoplifting laws do not stop there, however.  All of these crimes are also shoplifting:

The act of knowingly hiding any goods that are for sale in a retail store on your body or in another place with the intention of not paying the owner of the store the full value for the goods; or

The act of knowingly changing, switching or taking off any price tag from any goods that are for sale in a retail store with the intention of not paying the owner of the store the full value of the goods; or

The act of changing any goods for sale in a retail store from one package to another with the intention of not paying the owner of the store the full value of the goods; or

The act of knowingly writing down a value for any goods that are for sale in a retail store with the intention of not paying the owner of the store the full value of the goods; or

The act of taking a shopping wagon from a retail store, without getting the permission of the owner of the store at that time with the intention of not returning the wagon to the store.

What to Do if you are Charged Under the Massachusetts Shoplifting Laws

Anyone is capable of making a mistake, and that includes being charged with a violation of the Massachusetts shoplifting laws.  However, it is so very important that you act immediately to stop what can be a simple mistake from turning into a major disaster.  Being charged under the Massachusetts shoplifting laws can have very serious consequences.  You could be denied employment or lose your job, particularly if you are licensed or in a position of trust, such as a teacher or a nurse.  If you are in school and receiving a student loan or applying for a student loan, you could be lose the loan or be denied a loan.  If you are not a citizen of the United States, and are here on a green card or a visa or otherwise, you could be deported, denied reaccess to the United States or denied naturalization.  Not only these things, you may destroy your good reputation in the neighborhood, not to mention the embarrassment.  That is why it is so important that you hire a Massachusetts criminal lawyer as soon as you possibly can.  A good shoplifting lawyer is your best chance to beat the shoplifting charges altogether or walk away with a minimal penalty.

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