The biggest source of shoplifting charges in Somerset County is unquestionably Bridgewater Commons. The large department stores at the mall include Macy’s, Lord & Taylor and Bloomingdales, and generate the most offenses. Whether you were arrested at one of these department stores or a smaller retailer like J. Crew or the Apple Store, our Bridgewater Criminal Defense Office is well equipped to defend you. Our team of defense lawyers includes several former prosecutors with over 100 years of combined experience. The following is some important information that you should know if you were arrested at Bridgewater Commons Mall.
The first thing you should know is that the merchant has the right to demand payment of a civil penalty of up to $150. This penalty is recoverable where the retailer was unable to recover its merchandise in its original condition. The ability to sue you for damages is forfeited so that the maximum recovery is capped at $150.
In terms of the criminal exposure for shoplifting in Bridgewater or anywhere else in New Jersey, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11 outlines the penalties that may be imposed. It is important to keep in mind that jurisdiction to hear your case rests with the Bridgewater Municipal Court if your shoplifting involves allegations of merchandise with a value of less than $200. This is what is termed a disorderly persons offense for shoplifting and carries the potential for a fine of up to $1,000 and county jail term that can reach six months. A theft involving merchandise with a value of $200 or more is an indictable offense that may only be resolved at the Somerset County Superior Court. A theft involving a value of at least $200 but less than $500 is a fourth degree crime carrying a maximum fine of $10,000 and up to eighteen months in state prison. A third degree crime for shoplifting arises where the value is $500 or more. The penalties include up to five years of incarceration and a fine that can be as high as $15,000.
If you are facing a third degree shoplifting, fourth degree shoplifting or disorderly persons offense for shoplifting at Bridgewater Commons, it is crucial that you retain an attorney as soon as possible. Our lawyers may be able to convince the county prosecutor to remand the case to municipal court as a downgraded charge if we are engaged quickly. The mission is always to escape a conviction so that a criminal record for stealing is avoided. Programs such as Pretrial Intervention and Conditional Dismissal may be utilized. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are adept in securing admission into these diversion programs and in successfully defending shoplifting charges like yours. Call us at 908-566-9717.