Shoplifting in New Jersey
Theft offenses in New Jersey are charged in varying degrees according to the value of the items taken. While shoplifting may seem like no big deal it is in fact a criminal offense with very real penalties. Attorney Mark A. Schneider in has over 25 years of experience defending the right of those accused of shoplifting throughout New Jersey and can provide invaluable insight to your case.
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Being Charged with Shoplifting
Shoplifting is described in NJ statute 2C:20-11 as purposely taking merchandise, concealing merchandise, altering merchandise (switching tags), transferring merchandise to other packaging, or purposefully under charging for merchandise. The retail value of the merchandise in question will determine the grading of the charge; $200 or less is considered a disorderly persons offense and is punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to 6 months in jail; incarceration is mandatory after the first conviction.
Items valued $200 or more are considered indictable criminal offenses; penalties are outlined as follows:
- The value of the goods in question is between $200 and $500 you face up to a $10,000 fine and 18 months in jail (4th degree crime)
- The value of the goods in question is $500 but not more than $75,000, you face a jail term between 3 and 5 years and up to $15,000 in fines (3rd degree crime)
- The value of the goods in question is above $75,000 you face a fine of up to $150,000 and 5-10 years in jail (2nd degree crime)
Lawsuits Against Shoplifting
It should be noted that the merchant has the option to also file a civil lawsuit against a defendant for restitution. Merchants are entitled to the value of the merchandise, up to $500, if it is not recovered in its original condition plus damages resulting from the apprehension the shoplifter, as well as a penalty up to $150.
Exercise Your Right
If you have been charged with shoplifting, first and foremost exercise your right to remain silent until you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Mark A. Schneider may be able to help you avoid criminal record arising from a shoplifting offense. Call Mark today for a consultation to review your case and determine the defenses available including pursing diversion programs.