Bridgewater NJ Shoplifting Defense Attorneys
The term “shoplifting” often conjures up images of relatively trivial incidents involving young people and low-priced merchandise such as candy or cosmetics; however, these offenses can be far more serious than one might assume. In fact, depending on the estimated monetary value of the stolen goods, shoplifting can be classified as a second, third, or fourth degree felony, punishable by a host of severe penalties including a New Jersey State Prison sentence, significant fines, community service, and even immigration consequences. Unbeknownst to many, there are several forms of shoplifting addressed under New Jersey Law, including: taking merchandise offered for sale without paying, hiding or concealing merchandise, tampering with or altering price tags, transferring merchandise from one container to another, under-ringing merchandise at the register (for yourself or someone else), and even removing a shopping cart from the premises. Regardless of the circumstances that give rise to your shoplifting charges, your exposure to serious repercussions requires, in our estimation, a thorough and comprehensive defense strategy.
At The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our attorneys have dedicated a combined 100 years to the practice of law in New Jersey, serving as municipal and county prosecutors, as well as defense attorneys, working on behalf of those accused of criminal offenses. Through our extensive experience, we have acquired a unique perspective and an arsenal of skills which we regularly employ to secure favorable outcomes for our clients in court rooms across the state. Our ability to anticipate and effectively address the issues involved in each case has served thousands of defendants who may otherwise have been subject to the life-altering impacts of a criminal conviction. Contact our offices today to learn more about how our talented criminal defense team can help you move forward with confidence.
Shoplifting Charges in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11
Shoplifting offenses are outlined in section N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11 of the New Jersey Criminal Code, which states that any of the following may constitute shoplifting:
- For any person purposely to 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 of the possession, use or benefit of such merchandise or converting the same to the use of such person without paying to the merchant the full retail value thereof.
- For any person purposely to 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 of the processes, use or benefit of such merchandise or converting the same to the use of such person without paying to the merchant the value thereof.
- For any person purposely to 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 personally or in consort with another at less than the full retail value with the intention of depriving the merchant of all or some part of the value thereof.
- For any person purposely to 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.
- For any person purposely to under-ring with the intention of depriving the merchant of the full retail value thereof.
- For any person purposely to remove a shopping cart from the premises of a store or other retail mercantile establishment without the consent of the merchant given at the time of such removal with the intention of permanently depriving the merchant of the possession, use or benefit of such cart.
Contact our Franklin Twp. NJ Shoplifting Lawyers for a Free Consultation
As mentioned above, the degree of a shoplifting charge is contingent upon the estimated monetary value of the allegedly stolen merchandise. Specifically, if the amount is $200.00 or less, the shoplifting charge is classified as a disorderly persons offense, which will be adjudicated at the local municipal court and may result in a sentence to serve up to 6 months in the county jail. If the amount falls within the range of $200.00 and $500.00, this is considered a fourth degree felony, which is punishable by a maximum term of 18 months to be served in New Jersey State Prison. Further, if the amount associated with the allegedly stolen property is between $500.00 and $75,000.00, the charges will be for a third degree indictable crime, which entails a term of imprisonment ranging from 3 to 5 years. Lastly, if the value of the goods exceeds $75,000, you will be charged with a second degree crime, punishable by a 5 to 10-year term of incarceration.
In addition to the aforementioned penalties, a shoplifting conviction includes mandatory community service per the following guidelines:
- First Offense: 10 days
- Second Offense: 15 days
- Third or Subsequent Offense: 25 days
Finally, it is important to note that a third conviction for shoplifting requires the imposition of a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 3 months. Collateral consequences of a conviction for shoplifting may involve your immigration status if you are not a permanent U.S. citizen, as shoplifting is considered a “crime of moral turpitude.” Clearly, the devastating implications of shoplifting charges can haunt you and those you love for years to come. Contact our law offices anytime for a cost-free consultation and an outline of your available options.
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