New Jersey Shoplifting Defense Lawyers
In New Jersey, shoplifting offenses can vary from extremely serious to relatively minor (although even relatively minor convictions will go on a criminal records and could seriously affect a person). The seriousness of a shoplifting charge depends on the value of the stolen merchandise, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11. It is very important to understand that a person could easily be guilty of shoplifting without actually stealing the merchandise. According to N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11, shoplifting occurs whenever a customer does any kind of act with the intention to deprive the merchant of the full value of the merchandise. You don’t need to walk out of the store without paying in order to be convicted of shoplifting. Other types of shoplifting outlined in N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11 include removing tags, changing the price labels, removing or swapping containers, putting multiple items on one hanger or in one container, hiding merchandise in a bag, coat, or under clothing, etc. Very often, people are caught and charged with shoplifting before they even leave the store because a security guard spots them doing something wrong or they are caught on video from the surveillance system.
If the merchandise is valued at $75,000 or more, then it is a 2nd degree crime and punishable by a term of imprisonment of five to 10 years, a fine not to exceed $150,000.00, or both. This is extremely serious. Shoplifting is a crime of the third degree if the full retail value of the merchandise exceeds $500.00 but is less than $75,000.00 and punishable by a term of imprisonment of three to five years, a fine not to exceed $15,000.00, or both. Shoplifting is a crime of the fourth degree if the full retail value of the merchandise was at least $200.00 but does not exceed $500.00, punishable by a term of imprisonment not to exceed 18 months, a fine not to exceed $10,000 or both. If the stolen items are valued at less than $200 then it is a disorderly persons offense.
In addition to possible jail time and high fines, a person convicted of shoplifting faces additional mandatory penalties. For a first offense, at least ten days of community service; for a second offense, at least 15 days of community service; and for a third or subsequent offense, a maximum of 25 days of community service and any person convicted of a third or subsequent shoplifting offense shall serve a minimum term of imprisonment of not less than 90 days. It is important to note that if you plead guilty or are convicted of any kind of shoplifting offense, the judge must sentence you to community service, no matter what.
The judge could also order the guilty party to pay restitution to the store. And in certain cases a merchant is also allowed to make a civil claim against a shoplifter for a civil penalty. N.J.S.A. 2A:61C-1d(3) provides for civil penalties in cases where the value of the merchandise does not exceed $500.00. N.J.S.A. 2A:61C-1 requires that the merchant make a written demand for the penalty and allow the offender twenty days to comply. Under N.J.S.A. 2A:61C-1c, in the event that a merchant institutes a civil action, the prevailing party is entitled to an award of reasonable attorney’s fees and reasonable court costs.
Shoplifting Criminal Defense Lawyer Approach (Why Us?)
A person charged with shoplifting could be facing a sentence of several years in prison, along with high fines and other penalties, depending on the value of merchandise stolen. If you are charged with such a crime you will need a lawyer to protect your rights. Besides the normal penalties, a conviction or guilty plea could seriously affect a person for years into the future. Our firm will fight vigorously for you and help you achieve the best results for your shoplifting case. We are skilled at analyzing the evidence that the state intends to use against you and we fight to exploit any holes in the prosecutor’s case. We also spend a considerable amount of time in negotiating with the prosecutor so that our client’s get the best plea offers possible. Once a plea offer is made, we counsel our clients about whether it makes sense to accept a plea offer or take their case to trial, where the prosecutor would have to prove all of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
Shoplifting Defense Lawyer Free Consultation
If you are charged with any crime, please call us right away for a 100% FREE CONSULTATION, on the phone or in our office. We will review the court documents with you and advise you on what we can do to help you. Remember, the prosecutor’s job is to put people charged with crimes in jail. The prosecutor will not simply listen to your side of the story and drop the case against you. It is important to be represented by a skilled criminal defense attorney.
Please contact us today!
Raff & Raff, LLP
Attorneys at Law
30 Church Street
Paterson, NJ 07505
Tel: (973) 742-1917
Fax: (973) 742-2454
Based in Paterson, New Jersey, Raff & Raff, LLP services clients in the communities of Bloomingdale, Clifton, Haledon, Hawthorne, Little Falls, Passaic, Paterson, Pompton Lakes, Prospect Park, Ringwood, Totowa, Wanaque, Wayne, West Milford, Woodland Park, Allendale, Alpine, Bergenfield, Bogota, Carlstadt, Cliffside Park, Closter, Cresskill, Demarest, Dumont, East Rutherford, Edgewater, Elmwood Park, Emerson, Englewood, Fair Lawn, Fort Lee, Franklin Lakes, Garfield, Glenn Rock, Hackensack, Hasbrouck Heights, Haworth, Hillsdale, Ho-Ho-Kus, Leonia, Little Ferry, Lodi, Lyndhurst, Mahwah, Maywood, Midland Park, Montvale, Moonachie, New Milford, North Arlington, Northvale, Norwood, Oakland, Old Tappan, Oradell, Palisades Park, Paramus, Park Ridge, Ramsey, Ridgefield, Ridgewood, River Edge, River Vale, Rochelle Park, Rockleigh, Rutherford, Saddle Brook, Saddle River, Teaneck, Tenafly, Teterboro, Waldwick, Wallington, Westwood, Wood-Ridge, Woodcliff Lake, Wyckoff, Belleville, Bloomfield, Caldwell, Cedar Grove, Orange, Essex Fells, Fairfield, Glen Ridge, Irvington, Livingston, Maplewood, Millburn, Montclair, Newark, North Caldwell, Nutley, Roseland, Verona, Bayonne, Jersey City, Hoboken, Union City, West New York, Guttenberg, Secaucus, Kearney, Harrison, North Bergen, Weehawken, Elizabeth, Linden, Plainsfield, Rahway, Union, Scotch Plains, Clark, Cranford, Hillside, Westfield, Roselle, and surrounding areas.