Although it may be viewed as a minor offense, a shoplifting charge can lead to serious penalties in the state of New Jersey, whether it be fines or a criminal record. Read on to find out what constitutes a shoplifting offense and how one of the knowledgeable Middlesex County theft attorneys can help you build a strong legal defense to lessen or dismiss your charges altogether.
What is considered a shoplifting offense in New Jersey?
Shoplifting is considered a type of theft, in which an individual wrongfully steals property from a retail establishment while pretending to be a customer. A shoplifting offense can be considered an act as common as concealing stolen items in pockets, bags, or clothing while exiting the establishment. Otherwise, it is done in the following ways:
- Not scanning every item at a self-checkout register.
- Coordinating with a cashier to under-ring or not scan items.
- Returning a stolen item.
- Changing bar codes or price tags.
- Using devices that prevent anti-theft technology from functioning properly.
What charges can I face for shoplifting in New Jersey?
Similar to many other states, New Jersey bases its penalties for shoplifting on the value of the property stolen. The smallest offense is considered to be stolen property that is worth less than $200; this is treated as a disorderly conduct offense that is handled in municipal court. The penalties may include a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 6 months in jail. However, stolen higher-value items yield more serious penalties that are handled in criminal court, and read as follows:
- An item or items valued between $200 and $500 is a fourth-degree crime.
- Fines up to $10,000.
- Up to 18 months in jail.
- An item or items valued between $500 and $75,000 is a third-degree crime.
- Fines up to $15,000.
- Between 3 to 5 years in jail.
- An item or items valued over $75,000 is a second-degree crime.
- Fines up to $150,000.
- Between 5 to 10 years in jail.
Importantly, charges can become more drastic if you are accused of participating in an organized retail theft enterprise or if you have been convicted of two or more shoplifting offenses in the past. If you have been arrested or charged in connection with shoplifting in New Jersey, do not hesitate to reach out to our Middlesex County criminal defense attorneys today.
Contact our experienced New Jersey firm
When someone is charged with a crime, they have a lot to consider. However, we understand that everyone makes mistakes, which is why we are here to help. No matter your circumstances, if you are facing criminal charges, contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Policastro today for the experienced legal counsel you deserve and need.