Shoplifting Offenses

New Jersey Shoplifting Defense Attorney

A criminal charge for shoplifting is much more serious than you might believe. Whether a retail theft involves a second-degree, third-degree or fourth-degree crime, or even a disorderly persons offense, a conviction results in a record that can impact your life for many years to come—not to mention penalties that always include the possibility of incarceration. Selecting an attorney with the skill to ensure that you have every chance of escaping a conviction is your best weapon in combating a shoplifting charge in Camden County, Hudson County, Burlington County, Bergen County, Morris County or elsewhere in New Jersey.

The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall has a team of lawyers with the experience and skill to win your NJ shoplifting case. There are ten criminal attorneys at the firm which makes it one of the largest of its kind in the state. Most of the litigators are former prosecutors who have served at either the county or municipal court level over their 200 plus years in practice combined. Do not be foolish and settle for someone with limited experience. Give us a call to speak to lawyers who have successfully defended and even tried thousands of shoplifting charges in New Jersey. Contact us today for a free consultation by calling 1-877-328-0980.

New Jersey Shoplifting Law

The offense of shoplifting is set forth at N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11. This law outlines six types of conduct that constitute shoplifting, including:

  1. Purposely taking possession of merchandise with the intention of depriving the merchant of its value;
  2. Concealing merchandise
  3. Altering, transferring or removing a label or price tag in order to purchase the merchandise for less than its true value
  4. Transferring the box or container of merchandise to deprive the merchant of the full value of the goods
  5. Under-ring merchandise
  6. Removing a shopping cart from the property of a merchant.

It is worth noting that an individual can only be convicted of a New Jersey shoplifting offense under any of these scenarios if their conduct is purposeful, meaning that they intended to deprive the merchant of the goods or their true value.

How Is The Grading Of A Shoplifting Charge Determined?

The grading of a shoplifting charge is determined by the amount of the merchandise stolen. If the full retail value of the items stolen is $75,000 or more, shoplifting is a second-degree crime. It is a third-degree crime to commit shoplifting of merchandise with a value of at least $500 but less than $75,000. If the value of the goods is at least $200 but less than $500, shoplifting results in a fourth-degree crime. Shoplifting is a disorderly persons offense where the value of the merchandise is less than $200.

You should also know that individual acts of shoplifting may be aggregated so that the sum of the thefts dictate the grade of shoplifting offense. Aggregation is permitted when a defendant engages in a “continuing course of conduct” involving shoplifting. For example, if an individual is arrested for shoplifting items from four different stores at the mall during the course of the same afternoon, the prosecutor can add up the retail value of all the items stolen to arrive at the grade of the charge.

What Are The Penalties For Shoplifting in New Jersey?

When someone is charged with a disorderly persons offense for shoplifting, they face up to 6 months in the county jail and a fine of up to $1,000. A fourth-degree crime for shoplifting results in up to 18 months in prison and a fine that can reach $10,000. A third-degree crime for shoplifting, the most common felony grade, carries up to 5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $15,000. When the merchandise stolen has a value of $75,000 or more, shoplifting is a second-degree crime. You should also know that there is a mandatory jail term of 90 days upon conviction for a third or subsequent offense.

In addition, the shoplifting statute also mandates community service for a first offense, second offense and third offense. A defendant must perform 10 days of community service for a first offense. For a second offense, there is 15 days of community service. The period of community service is 25 days for a third or subsequent conviction for shoplifting.

Given the penalties for shoplifting, it is of utmost importance that you hire a criminal defense attorney who can help you avoid the many pitfalls that surround this area of the law. Each and every lawyer at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall is experienced in handling shoplifting charges in NJ including Bergen County, Monmouth County, Hudson County, Camden County, Union County, Middlesex County, Ocean County, Somerset County, Essex County, Mercer County, and Burlington County.

Can A Merchant Detain Someone For Shoplifting?

A merchant or lost prevention officer may detain a shoplifting suspect for a reasonable period and in a reasonable manner provided they possess probable cause to believe that the individual violated 2C:20-11. Whether the detention is reasonable is a matter to be determined by the court. If the court finds that the detention was unreasonable, criminal and/or civil charges may result.

Are There Additional Consequences When Someone Possesses Or Uses Devices Intended To Circumvent Anti-shoplifting Countermeasures?

Examples of anti-shoplifting countermeasures are devices that demagnetize anti-shoplifting security measures, devices that change the bar code on merchandise price tags, and any other implements whose purpose is to subvert anti-shoplifting countermeasures. If found guilty of this offense, the defendant will be convicted of a disorderly persons offense, and the charge will be disposed of in the appropriate municipal court.

Shoplifting Attorneys in New Jersey

If you have been charged with shoplifting and are in need of a lawyer, please do not hesitate to contact our criminal defense law firm with any questions or to arrange for a free consultation. We have an attorney to handle your retail theft cases anywhere in NJ including Union County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Ocean County, Camden County, Burlington County, Somerset County, Essex County, Hunterdon County, Hudson County, Morris County, Bergen County and Mercer County. Call our law offices today and speak with one of our attorneys, who will be happy to answer your questions and schedule your free consultation. You may also consider consulting NJ Shoplifting Defense Attorneys for a more detailed discussion of the law associated with shoplifting offenses.