In New Hampshire, willful concealment is the term used to describe the illegal act of concealing property in an establishment with the intent to steal that property. If you hide items under clothes or in bags, you may be stopped by store security and charged with willful concealment. This charge can lead to fines, possible jail time, and an order to pay restitution for the items taken if you have shoplifted. While you may just want to get it over with and do anything the retailer demands, if you are charged with willful concealment, you need an experienced criminal attorney by your side to protect your rights and fight to minimize the effects a theft charge may have on your life. The criminal defense attorneys at Tenn And Tenn, P.A. in Manchester NH are ready to hear your side of the story and to defend you in court. People make mistakes. We understand that and are here to help you move forward with as few negative consequences as possible.
Willful Concealment Penalties
Willful concealment is a criminal charge that is taken seriously in New Hampshire. If the items taken or concealed are valued at less than $1,000, you may face one year in jail and a fine of $2,000. If the value is more than $1,000 but less than $1,500, a $4,000 fine and seven years in prison can be sought. This level of theft can also be a felony charge against you. If you are charged with concealing or shoplifting items worth more than $1,500 or a firearm, a prison sentence of 15 years is possible. Even changing the price of an item can be considered willful concealment under the theft statutes. For first time offenders, there are diversion programs to help ease the criminal consequences. In most cases, a person charged may be ordered to pay restitution for the items. A business owner may also choose to seek damages in a civil complaint, making the charge and conviction even costlier.
While willful concealment may be a misdemeanor charge, a conviction can still impact your life in many ways. A felony can mean you can no longer work in certain fields and it stays on your record may years, influencing your ability to get loans or even rent an apartment. A misdemeanor can impact your ability to get certain jobs also. A misdemeanor willful concealment charge can also result in a permanent ban from the establishment affected.
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys
The circumstances surrounding the incident and the intent of a shopper can all affect how a willful concealment case plays out. If you have an experienced attorney by your side, you can rest assured your case will get the attention and time needed to pursue the most favorable outcome. Our NH criminal defense attorneys will work to investigate the situation and fight to preserve your integrity and reputation as you face the charges. Before accepting a willful concealment charge as an open and shut case, contact us today to hear what our experienced team of attorneys can do to help you put the situation behind you and move forward.