Shoplifting is one of those crimes that sounds petty and insignificant. At it’s lowest level, it is indeed a disorderly persons offense which is one of the least serious offenses for which you can be charged. However, when stealing or attempting to steal goods valued above $200 in New Jersey, you can face an “indictable offense” which equates to a felony charge. Because of this, it is important that you seek experienced criminal defense representation when accused of shoplifting.
At Davé Law Firm, our seasoned criminal defense attorneys put experience, tenacity, and skills into your case. Because of the many years we have defended clients in the criminal justice system, we understand how law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges operate in these matters. When going up against such a system, you have potential options, defense strategies, and a legal team that is ready, willing, and able to fight for your rights and your best interests.
What Is Shoplifting in New Jersey?
New Jersey law has established five different types of theft by shoplifting.
- Purposeful stealing of merchandise without payment and with the intention to deprive the merchant of it.
- Concealment of merchandise with the intention of stealing it.
- Alteration or transfer of a price tag on merchandise with the intention to deprive the merchant.
- Transfer of merchandise to another container with the intention of theft.
- Purposeful charging less than the full price of merchandise, known as “under-ringing.” This is generally done by store employees.
How Charges & Penalties Are Determined
In shoplifting cases, the full retail value of the merchandise taken will dictate what type of charges and penalties you will face:
- Stealing property that is valued at less than $200 is a disorderly person’s offense punishable by up to six months in jail and fines of up to $1,000.
- Stealing property that is valued between $200 and $500 is a fourth-degree indictable offense punishable by up to 18 months of imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Stealing property that is valued between $500 and $75,000 is a third-degree indictable offense punishable by three to five years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $15,000.
- Stealing property that is valued more than $75,000 is a second-degree indictable offense punishable by five to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $150,000.
Shoplifting convictions also include mandatory penalties based on the number of prior convictions you have. A first offense involves at least 10 days of mandatory community service, a second offense requires a minimum of 15 days of mandatory community service while third and subsequent convictions involve a minimum of 25 days of community service along with mandatory jail time of a minimum of 90 days. Furthermore, you can also be ordered to reimburse the retail store for the monetary losses suffered due to the theft. This can include court costs, legal fees, and a surcharge.
Trusted & Capable Legal Representation in Mercer County, NJ
As you can see, shoplifting charges are a serious matter. That is why you will need the services of a criminal defense lawyer with a proven reputation for quality service.
At Davé Law Firm, we vigorously fight to help our clients avoid convictions and the consequences that can follow. Find out more by contacting us as soon as possible so that we can get started building your defense.
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