With the holidays upon us, more people will head to the malls to shop and take advantage of good deals. More shoppers also lead to an increase in shoplifting charges.
What Is Shoplifting in New Jersey?
The most obvious definition of shoplifting is taking something from a retail location that does not belong to you. However, under New Jersey law, shoplifting may also include:
- Changing an item’s price tag
- A cashier under-ringing an item
- A cashier not ringing an item up
- Attempts at shoplifting, even if they are unsuccessful
You don’t have to actually steal anything to be charged with shoplifting. If you are unsuccessful in stealing the item, but your intentions were clear, you can also receive charges.
Potential Legal Consequences for Shoplifting in New Jersey
Shoplifting charges, even first-time offenses, can lead to criminal charges and expensive legal fines. What charges you receive will depend on the value of the items stolen. New Jersey law divides this into the following categories:
- Items with a value of up to $200: This leads to disorderly persons charges and results in up to six months in jail and a maximum of $1,000 fine.
- Items with a value between $200-$500: This leads to fourth-degree charges with up to 18 months in jail and legal fines up to $10,000.
- Items with a value between $501-$74,999: This leads to a third-degree charge with up to five years in jail and legal fines up to $15,000.
- Items with a value of over $75,000: This leads to second-degree charges with up to 10 years in prison and legal fines of up to $150,000.
Convicted offenders will also often receive community service. These criminal charges can make it difficult to obtain employment or to hold onto a job that you already have. It may also affect your career opportunities by making it difficult to get into college. These charges will show up on background checks.
Read more: What Can a Defense Attorney Do For You?
Your Options Following a Shoplifting Charge
You may have options available, depending on the details of your charges. First-time offenders will often have options available to reduce charges. For example, the prosecutor may be willing to reduce charges in return for more community service or for counseling classes. Additionally, fourth-degree charges, if they are right on the value limit, may be negotiated to a disorderly persons offense. The best way to find out your options is to work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
It is important to have a good strategy when building your defense. If you go to court and lose, you will receive the maximum charges. In some cases, the prosecutor may offer a plea deal or a settlement that requests you plead guilty, in return for reduced charges. The potential consequences of a shoplifting charge can significantly affect your future. Even minors could receive required community service and time spent in a detention center. Reach out to a shoplifting defense lawyer today to evaluate your legal options.
Read more: Should I Expunge My Record?
Contact an Experienced Pemberton Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Shoplifting Charges in New Jersey
Were you arrested or charged with shoplifting in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The Law Offices of Stephen R. Piper, LLC has successfully represented clients charged with shoplifting in Evesham Township, Mount Laurel, Willingboro, Pemberton, and throughout New Jersey. Call (856) 912-5870 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at Strawbridge Professional Center of Moorestown, 212 W Route 38, Ste 440, Moorestown, NJ 08057.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.
Disorderly conduct consists of any improper behavior such as fighting, threats of violence, or creating a dangerous atmosphere.