If you are accused of shoplifting, you face penalties that include high fines and potentially jail time. While this can be a serious crime, you have a much better chance for a dismissal or reduction of charges by retaining a New Jersey shoplifting defense lawyer. Mark Catanzaro is a skilled lawyer who wants to help you fight these charges!
What Constitutes Shoplifting?
It’s fairly common knowledge that taking items out of a store without paying is shoplifting. But New Jersey’s shoplifting statute lists six actions that constitute shoplifting:
- Carrying away merchandise from a store with the intention of depriving the merchant
- Purposeful concealment of an item(s) with the intention of depriving the merchant
- Altering or changing price tags on items
- Transferring merchandise from one container to another with the intention of depriving the merchant of the full price
- Under ringing merchandise
- Removing a shopping cart from the premises
A person does not need to actually walk out of a store with merchandise for it to be considered shoplifting as long as he has the intent. Intent can be difficult to show, and this is where an experienced New Jersey shoplifting defense lawyer becomes extremely helpful.
A business owner can stop a person whom he believes may have shoplifted, but he must have probable cause. Such probable cause might exist when he sees a person’s actions to conceal an item or he witnesses them leaving the premises without paying for an item. A business owner has no right to conduct a strip search or forcibly search an individual. If this has occurred, or if the business owner detains a person without probable cause, your shoplifting defense lawyer in New Jersey can use this information to help your case.
There are four degrees of shoplifting:
- 2nd Degree – value of the merchandise is $75,000 or greater
- 3rd Degree – value of the merchandise is between $501 and $74,999
- 4th Degree – value of the merchandise is between $200 and $500
- Disorderly persons – value of the merchandise is less than $200
Along with varying fines, a first offense carries with it a mandatory minimum of 10 days of community service; a second offense has a mandatory minimum of 15 days of community service; and a third offense requires 25 days of community service and a minimum of 90 days’ imprisonment.
Mark Catanzaro – A New Jersey Shoplifting Defense Lawyer By Your Side
A shoplifting conviction can follow you far beyond the courtroom; it can negatively affect employment and educational opportunities. Speaking to Mark Catanzaro immediately will increase your chances for a favorable result. Don’t wait; contact the shoplifting defense lawyer New Jersey residents know and trust!