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How to Choose the Right Shoplifting Attorney


With so much at stake, how do I select the best shoplifting defense attorney for my New York City case? We wrote this article to help you decide and suggest ways our firm is the right choice.

1. Choose the right experience. The right New York City shoplifting attorney will have the most relevant experience to your case.

  • The attorneys at the Law Office of Lance Fletcher are former New York City prosecutors who have prosecuted and defended hundreds of shoplifting cases covering a wide variety of facts from merchandise under $50 in value up to felonies involving thousands of dollars of merchandise. Our attorneys have written extensively on Petit Larceny (155.25) and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property (165.40) making them very knowledgeable of ways to defend these charges.

2. Choose the right amount of experience. The right New York City shoplifting attorney will have the right amount of experience

  • Is an attorney with 20 years of experience definitely better than an attorney with only 2 years of experience? No, but experience should be something you look at. Our attorneys are former New York City prosecutors with over 12 years of combined experience handling retail theft cases. In addition to years of experience successfully defending shoplifting cases, our attorneys have solid academic credentials and memberships in several professional associations including the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers, The New York County Lawyers Association, and The New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

3. Meet with an attorney. The right New York City shoplifting attorney will have time to meet with you for the case evaluation. Have you ever noticed that you get a better understanding about something when you speak with someone in-person versus over the phone? This is because the phone is a poor substitute for in-person interaction. Cell phones are susceptible to bad reception, a noisy fire truck passing by, and your phone conversation may be overheard by others. Plus, when you're speaking with an attorney for the first time over the phone, how do you know if they have an organized office, or even any office at all?

  • You want to sit down and have a confidential discussion with your lawyer to decide the best course of action. The Law Office of Lance Fletcher offers free in-person shoplifting case evaluations and our offices are conveniently located in midtown and downtown Manhattan.

4. All attorneys are not the same. If you are facing shoplifting charges, you don't just want any attorney. For instance, you don't want an attorney who handles a divorce case one day and a personal injury case the next. If someone is saying you were shoplifting, your freedom, reputation, and career is on the line. You want a New York City shoplifting attorney defending you. This means an attorney who has dedicated his career to criminal law in New York City and a substantial part of his or her practice to shoplifting cases. Part of this is because shoplifting cases carry unique risks. Shoplifting charges can cause problems if you are or plan to be employed in certain fields such as banking, accounting, finance, or teaching. This is in addition to the other consequences of a criminal case.

  • If you've been arrested for shoplifting in New York City, speak with a New York City shoplifting attorney about your case. Never go to court alone.Contact Us for a case evaluation.

5. Don't rush. Occasionally, we get calls from client who are looking to hire us to replace their current lawyer. Very often, the problem can be traced back to the fact that they were given an attorney or otherwise just sort of "ended up with" the lawyer they have. Hiring the right attorney should not be something that you rush.

  • If you're reading this, you're on the right track because it means you're reading about the process of hiring a shoplifting lawyer. Take your time to consider the other points in this article such as whether the lawyer has relevant experience and time to meet with you for the consultation.

6. Find a shoplifting attorney who can explain the alternatives. If you've been arrested for shoplifting, you can immediately suffer employment problems, immigration problems, and international travel problems before your first court date. A conviction can have long lasting and far-reaching consequences. It has been said that every problem has in it the seeds of its own solution. Exploring these solutions will require a shoplifting attorney who has the right background and experience.

  • At the Law Office of Lance Fletcher, we take a case by case approach. Just as no two cases have the same facts, the strategy for success will vary from one client to the next. Our criminal defense attorneys are deeply connected to attorneys in other disciplines so if you are facing employment, travel, immigration, or other consequences of the arrest, contact us today.

7. Choose a New York City shoplifting attorney who has handled a case like yours before. One of the benefits of hiring a former prosecutor is that he or she has been exposed to almost every type of case imaginable.

  • As former Assistant District Attorneys, the criminal defense lawyers at the Law Office of Lance Fletcher have experience defending shoplifting cases with a wide array of facts including store merchandise in a personal bag, tag switching, merchandise being worn under a jacket, and fake returns.

8. Pick a criminal defense lawyer with a passion for shoplifting defense. Too many attorneys are burned out or overwhelmed. This is especially true for public defenders whose phones are ringing off the hook because they have over 600 clients to worry about. That is not what you are looking for. Choose an attorney who takes the time to meet with you in-person to discuss your case. Choose an attorney who dedicates his or her practice to fighting for the accused.

9. Choose an attorney who is accessible. The right shoplifting attorney will be someone you can communicate with easily by phone, text, email, or in-person. For whatever reason, some lawyers don't make themselves available after 5pm, or don't text or email.

  • At the Law Office of Lance Fletcher, you can easily communicate with your attorney by cell, text, or email whether it's during the day or after work. This is because by making communication easier, better outcomes can be accomplished.

10. Pick an attorney with clear terms. The right shoplifting lawyer offers straight forward fee arraignments. Although some lawyers charge contingency fees (where you only pay if you win), criminal defense attorneys practicing in New York are not allowed to do this so be careful if an attorney offers you this option. Otherwise, New York criminal defense lawyers can charge flat fees / fixed fees, hourly fees, per-court-appearance fees, and a retainer fee. A flat fee is essentially the same thing as a fixed fee and sets a fixed price for the attorney's services. The benefit of a flat fee is that you generally don't have to worry about additional charges. An hourly fee is when you are paying a lawyer a certain amount of money for every hour he or she spends on your case. A retainer fee is a fee you pay the attorney so that the attorney makes him/herself available in your case. A per-court-appearance fee is how much you have to pay a lawyer every time you have to go to court. If your shoplifting case takes several court appearances, a per-court-appearance rate may not be wise.

  • The Law Offices of Lance Fletcher offers all inclusive flat rates so you don't have to worry about paying for every court appearance. To make things simple, we normally do not charge retainer fees or hourly rates.

11. Go with local experience. The right shoplifting attorney has local experience. Each part of the state is different. If your attorney has a practice in Albany, he or she may be the wrong attorney for a New York City case. This is because the District Attorney is an elected official. Elected officials are political and because different parts of New York have different politics, prosecution may be somewhat different in different parts of the state. If you are facing criminal charges, you will want an attorney who has experience in your specific area.