New Jersey Shoplifting Lawyer

Being accused of any crime, including shoplifting, can be a frightening and confusing experience. From being arrested to appearing in court, to dealing with an aggressive prosecutor, it is understandable why many people feel overwhelmed.

A New Jersey shoplifting lawyer can help. A knowledgeable lawyer can answer your questions about shoplifting, the penalties it involves, and how a lawyer can help.

Conviction of any crime, even shoplifting, can result in a permanent mark on your criminal record. Do not take an unnecessary chance and contact a shoplifting attorney today.

Legal Definition of Shoplifting

The New Jersey law concerning shoplifting is NJ Statute 2C:20-11. This act defines shoplifting as one of six actions:

  • When a person takes merchandise from a store with the intent to deprive the store of possession of the item without paying the full value.
  • When an individual conceals upon his person any merchandise with the intent to take it without paying the full value, even if they have not left the store.
  • When a person transfers, alters or removes a price tag in an attempt to purchase an item at a reduced price.
  • When a person moves merchandise held for sale from its display to another display location with the intent to deprive the merchant of that item's full value.
  • When a person purposefully under-rings an item with the intent to not pay full price.
  • When a person purposefully removes a shopping cart from the premises of a store.

Simply put, shoplifting is when a person tries to take an item from a store without paying full price or hides the item with the intent to steal it.

The latter half of the examples given are less common but, can include placing a lesser price tag on an item in an attempt to pass it off as something else, or taking an item from a bulk bin and placing it into another, differently priced bulk bin.

A New Jersey shoplifting lawyer will be familiar with these laws and can form a tailored defense for an individual.

Potential Shoplifting Penalties in New Jersey

The penalties for shoplifting are scaled under subsection c of NJ Statute 2C:20-11. The higher the monetary value of the items, the stricter the penalty.

  • Shoplifting in the second degree carries the most severe penalty, and occurs upon finding someone guilty of shoplifting in an amount over $75,000, or if committed as a part of a criminal enterprise, $1,000.
  • Shoplifting in the third-degree is if the item is valued at under $75,000 but over $500 or if the shoplifting is committed as a part of a criminal enterprise at a value under $1,000.
  • Shoplifting in the fourth-degree occurs when the value of the item is above $200 but under $500.
  • Lastly, any shoplifting conviction of a monetary value less than $200.00 is considered to be a disorderly persons offense.

It is important to remember that the value of the items may be combined when considering the degree of the offense. For example, the shoplifting of five $500.00 televisions will carry the same penalty as the shoplifting of one $2,500.00 diamond ring: a third-degree crime.

The most severe of these sentences, a second-degree crime, carries sentences ranging from five to 10 years in prison. The least severe, a disorderly persons conviction, carries a sentence of a maximum of six months in jail as described in NJ Statute 2C:43-8.

More information about sentencing can be found in NJ Statute 2C:43-6. In addition to jail time, any person convicted of shoplifting will be required to perform a minimum of 10 days of community service for a first offense. Any person convicted of a third or subsequent offense will be required to serve no less than 90 days in jail.

Talk to a New Jersey Shoplifting Attorney Today

A shoplifting conviction, even a minor one, can result in significant jail time. Any conviction will also require at least 10 days of community service. Additionally, a 3rd offense or more carries a minimum sentence of 90 days in jail. Do not take a risk with your freedom.

A New Jersey shoplifting lawyer will understand the law. They can examine every detail of your case from questioning witnesses to reviewing any security footage to provide you with a thorough and precise defense. Contact a lawyer today who will protect your rights.