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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.


Shoplifting is essentially a crime of theft from a retail store. New Jersey residents will typically be charged with a disorderly persons offense and prosecuted in Municipal Court if the item in question has a value of less than $200. It is important to take these charges seriously even if the value of the item is very small. You will have a permanent criminal conviction on your record if you are found guilty, even if the item had a value of $1. This record will be embarrassing, will appear on background checks, may effect professional licensing, and can even harm one's immigration status. Do not make the mistake of feeling like a shoplifting charge is "no big deal. It is, in fact, an event which can have a major impact on your life. Call a New Jersey shoplifting lawyer today to have your case evaluated by an experienced attorney in New Jersey free of charge.

Shoplifting Offenses

Store owners aggressively pursue criminal charges against shoplifters. You may be fined up to $1000, face 180 days in county jail, and have to perform community service for stealing an item valued at less than $200, making it important a shoplifting attorney in New Jersey is contacted right away.

Shoplifting is a broad term in New Jersey, which refers to many different acts. You may be charged with shoplifting if you:

  • Carry or transfer merchandise from a store, with the intent of depriving the merchant of the possession
  • Purposefully conceal merchandise with the intent of depriving the merchant of the possession
  • Move merchandise from one container to another in an intent to deprive the merchant of the full price of the product.
  • Alter, tamper, or remove labels, or change markings on an item
  • Under-ring merchandise in an attempt to deprive the merchant of the full retail value of an item
  • Remove a shopping cart from a store
  • Possess or utilize an anti-shoplifting or inventory control device with the intent to tamper with labels

If you have been charged with shoplifting it is important to call a New Jersey shoplifting lawyer as soon as possible. Our office can advise you on your rights, and protect you from making incriminating statements to investigators. Call us right away so we can protect your rights.

Consulting With An Attorney

If you are charged with shoplifting, do not plead guilty without consulting a shoplifting lawyer in New Jersey because you feel like you were “caught.” It is the prosecution's burden to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt and if they are unable to do so then the case will be dismissed.

John handles shoplifting and theft matters in the same aggressive manner with which he approaches large scale cases. John will request all relevant surveillance video and other evidence once you retain our office, and will begin mapping out your defense. Contact our office today for a free consultation.