Free Consultation! Call: (609) 261-3400 | Email: | Emergencies: Click Here

Myths and Facts of Shoplifting Charges

New Jersey criminal defense attorney

Maybe you were desperate, maybe you just wanted to try it, or maybe you don’t know why you did it. Shoplifting. This can be a humiliating criminal offense, but even worse, it can be a criminal offense that comes with significant consequences. Whether you were taking an item for your own personal use out of genuine need, or planned to resell it for a profit, you will face the penalties. But there are many myths about shoplifting charges. As a New Jersey criminal defense attorney, I am here to differentiate the myths from the facts surrounding shoplifting.

Shoplifting Myths and Defenses

Television and movies tend to shape most people’s perceptions of what happens to shoplifters. Don’t wait until it’s too late to find out what’s true and what’s not. Here are some common myths, and what the reality is when it comes to shoplifting.

  1. If I hand over the items, I will not be charged with shoplifting. Not so fast. If you’ve taken the steps to commit the crime, handing it back once you’ve been caught will not release you of culpability. Most store owners would prefer to prevent shoplifting from occurring in the first place, and if charges are not followed through with, people are more likely to attempt to steal their goods.
  2. It only counts as shoplifting if you leave the store with it. Shoplifting isn’t quite as simple as taking something that you haven’t paid for. New Jersey’s shoplifting statute lists six actions that count as shoplifting. These include 1) Carrying away merchandise from a store with the intention of depriving the merchant; 2) purposeful concealment of an item(s) with the intention of depriving the merchant; 3) altering or changing price tags on items; 4) Transferring merchandise from one container to another with the intention of depriving the merchant of the full price; 5) Under ringing merchandise; or 6) Removing a shopping cart from the premises. As you can see, there are many ways to be charged with shoplifting other than just leaving the store with merchandise you did not pay for. So think before you act. Or else you will find yourself in need of a New Jersey criminal defense attorney.
  3. I’ll just pay a small fine if I’m caught shoplifting. Shoplifting is not a crime that New Jersey law takes lightly. Merchants suffer significant losses from this crime. There are four degrees of shoplifting, the lowest charge being a disorderly person charge for merchandise under $200. However, along with varying fines up to $1,000, you also face a mandatory minimum of 10 days of community service and potentially jail time. The greater the value of the merchandise, the more significant the consequences.

Hire the New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney Who’s Ready To Fight For You

Mark Catanzaro is a skilled and experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney. With over 30 years of fighting for his clients, he is ready to defend your criminal charges. No charge is too big or too small for him. Don’t wait – call Mark Catanzaro today and schedule your free and confidential consultation.


Leave a Comment

Request Free Case Evaluation

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Office Locations

Mount Holly:

21 Grant St.
Mt. Holly, New Jersey


143 White Horse Avenue
Trenton, New Jersey