Shoplifting Lawyer Lawrenceville, NJ
New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyers Represent Clients Charged with Shoplifting in Mercer County, Middlesex County, and Monmouth County, NJ
Shoplifting is a variety of theft crime that can carry a wide range of penalties that may surprise an individual who is accused of committing the crime. In New Jersey, shoplifting cases are common, but this does not mean that the charge is not serious. Conviction of shoplifting in NJ can have potentially far-reaching consequences, including possible loss of employment because employers may view an individual who has been convicted of shoplifting as especially untrustworthy.
If you or a family member have been accused of shoplifting in New Jersey, it is therefore imperative that you contact an experienced Lawrence shoplifting attorney early in the legal process to avoid or mitigate the potentially severe consequences of conviction. In our decades of experience as Mercer County criminal defense attorneys, we have learned that it is often possible to cast doubt upon the prosecution’s version of the story in a retail theft case. We understand that being accused of shoplifting can be embarrassing and stressful, and we offer our clients compassion and personal attention throughout the entire duration of the case.
New Jersey Shoplifting Laws & Penalties
In New Jersey, shoplifting is governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11. Shoplifting can encompass a variety of alleged actions, in addition to actually removing an item from the store without paying for it. The crime of shoplifting also covers:
- Changing the price tag on an item.
- Moving merchandise to a sale rack or other area of the store to obtain a lower price.
- Concealing merchandise, which carries a presumption that the individual did so in order to shoplift the item.
- Ringing up an incorrectly low price.
The central tenant to a shoplifting case is that an individual commits an act with the intention of obtaining the merchandise without paying the price that the merchant is charging for the item. The penalties for a shoplifting conviction can vary dramatically, and they differ based upon the value of the merchandise that the individual is accused of stealing, as follows:
- Shoplifting is a second degree offense if the value of the property is $75,000 or more.
- Shoplifting is a third degree offense if the value of the property is less than $75,000 but more than $500.
- Shoplifting is a fourth degree offense if the value of the property is between $200 and $500.
- Shoplifting is a disorderly persons offense if the value of the property is less than $200.
If the shoplifting at issue is considered to be part of an organized retail theft enterprise, the crime can either be a third degree felony if the value of the property is under $1,000 or a second degree felony if the property is valued at $1,000 or above. An organized retail theft enterprise is an association between two or more people designed to facilitate the transfer of shoplifted merchandise.
Penalties For Shoplifting Charges in New Jersey
Conviction for a second degree shoplifting offense in New Jersey can carry penalties of up to ten (10) years in prison and fines of up to $150,000. Even minor disorderly persons offenses still carry the potential for up to a $1,000 fine and possible jail time. As experienced shoplifting defense attorneys, we will do our best to help you avoid the potential negative consequences of a shoplifting conviction by fighting to have the charges against you dismissed or reduced to the level of a non-criminal offense. A reduced charge carries the potential for expungement at an earlier date so that you can put the shoplifting charges in the past.
Call Aydelotte & Scardella Law LLC to Schedule a Free Consultation in Your Trenton Shoplifting Case Today
With our decades of combined experience defending criminal cases, we have come to learn that people from all walks of life can be accused of shoplifting. We know how important it is to avoid a criminal conviction, and we fight zealously to help our clients avoid conviction in each of our shoplifting cases. We have successfully defended hundreds of criminal cases, including many shoplifting cases, and we are available to put our expertise to work in your case today. Contact our office at 609-587-1144 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your shoplifting case. You can also fill out this online form.
Frequently Asked Questions About New Jersey Shoplifting Charges
The potential penalties for shoplifting in New Jersey can vary widely, and they can include significant jail time if the shoplifted item was very valuable. In other cases, community service requirements are often imposed instead of jail time. For a first offense, a convicted individual will often be required to perform at least ten (10) days of community service, and the amount of community service required increases with each conviction. For a third offense, a minimum jail term of 90 days will apply. Jail sentences in New Jersey shoplifting cases are much more likely for repeat offenders.
In some cases, yes. In very minor, or “de minimis,” cases, I can petition to have the shoplifting charges dismissed on the grounds that the offense was too minor to justify trial. In other cases, the store employees or owner may not even show up to testify to the charges, in which case I will argue for the judge to throw out the charges. Generally, the judge will provide the employees with a second chance to show up for trial, and if they fail to appear a second time, the shoplifting case may be dismissed.