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Criminal Law: Shoplifting

Let a New Jersey Shoplifting Lawyer Explore All Your Defense Options 

In New Jersey, shoplifting is the offense of intentionally taking merchandise from a store without paying for it. In addition to concealing merchandise and removing it, shoplifting includes changing the price tags on merchandise, swapping more-expensive goods with less-expensive ones, and stealing as an employee. Store employees who intentionally “under ring” the value of merchandise can also be charged with shoplifting, as can the individuals who underpay. If you have been arrested for shoplifting, you need experienced legal representation, and we strongly encourage you to speak with a New Jersey shoplifting attorney.

What is the Crime of Shoplifting in New Jersey?

Similar to other types of criminal offenses in New Jersey, there is not one single act that constitutes shoplifting. New Jersey’s shoplifting statute, Section 2C:20-11 of the Code of Criminal Justice, defines all of the following as forms of illegal conduct:

  • “[T]o take possession of, carry away, transfer or cause to be carried away or transferred, any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale by any store or other retail mercantile establishment with the intention of depriving the merchant . . . without paying to the merchant the full retail value thereof.”
  • “[T]o conceal upon his person or otherwise any merchandise offered for sale by any store or other retail mercantile establishment with the intention of depriving the merchant . . . without paying to the merchant the value thereof.”
  • “[T]o alter, transfer or remove any label, price tag or marking indicia of value or any other markings which aid in determining value affixed to any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale by any store or other retail mercantile establishment and to attempt to purchase such merchandise . . . at less than the full retail value . . . .”
  • “[T]o transfer any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale by any store or other retail merchandise establishment from the container in or on which the same shall be displayed to any other container with intent to deprive the merchant of all or some part of the retail value thereof.”
  • “[T]o under-ring [a product] with the intention of depriving the merchant of the full retail value thereof.”

What are the Penalties for Shoplifting in New Jersey?

Depending on the value of the items stolen, shoplifting can be charged as a disorderly persons offense or a crime of the second, third or fourth degree. The penalties for these crimes are as follows:

  • Disorderly persons offense (if the full retail value of the property stolen is less than $200) – Up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.
  • Fourth-degree crime (if the full retail value of the property stolen is between $200 and $500) – Up to a $10,000 fine and 18 months in prison.
  • Third-degree crime (if the full retail value of the property stolen is between $500 and $75,000) – Up to a $15,000 fine and three to five years in prison.
  • Second-degree crime (if the full retail value of the property stolen is $75,000 or more) – Up to a $150,000 fine and five to 10 years in prison.

In most cases, shoplifting is prosecuted as a disorderly persons offense in municipal court. This means that most defendants charged with shoplifting are not entitled to present their defenses before a jury. Furthermore, in any case in which a person has concealed unpurchased merchandise on their person while in a store, they are presumed to have done so with the intent of shoplifting it. This makes defending against shoplifting charges in these cases difficult, and it makes it extremely important for individuals accused of shoplifting to hire an experienced New Jersey shoplifting attorney to represent them.

Juvenile Defense for Minors Charged with Shoplifting in New Jersey

In addition to representing adults charged with shoplifting in New Jersey criminal court, we also represent minors accused of juvenile offenses. If you or your child is facing a shoplifting charge in juvenile court, our attorneys can help, and we encourage you to contact us right away.

Discuss Your Case with a New Jersey Shoplifting Lawyer at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A.

If you are charged with shoplifting, do not take the matter lightly. A shoplifting conviction can carry many serious consequences, including significant fines, jail time, mandatory community service, the loss of your job, and a permanent criminal record. At Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A., our attorneys have over 400 years of combined experience, and we have helped many New Jersey residents resolve shoplifting charges without serious consequences. To discuss your case with a New Jersey shoplifting lawyer in confidence, call 877-435-6371 or request an appointment online now. Call Us – Problem Solved. 

 

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