Have you been charged with shoplifting? If you’ve been charged with shoplifting in New Jersey, you could face serious fines, and even jail time! But with strong legal representation, you can get a dismissal or a reduction of the charges. Here’s a quick post about shoplifting, New Jersey law, and what you can do about it.
What is shoplifting?
As with all laws, they contain legal jargon and precise definitions that describe offenses. So, New Jersey state law defines shoplifting in very specific ways. Here are the six ways the law defines shoplifting in New Jersey:
- 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
As you can see, shoplifting in New Jersey involves more than simply stealing something. It involves any attempt to get merchandise for less than it is being sold. However, intent must be proven. That’s where an experienced defense attorney can help you.
What can happen?
According to New Jersey law, there are four degrees of shoplifting. Here’s a helpful chart showing each degree, and the consequences for it.
|Disorderly persons||Value of merchandise <$200||Up to six months in jail
Fine up to $1000
|4th degree||Value of merchandise between $200 – $500||Up to 18 months in jail
Fine up to $10,000
|3rd degree||Value of merchandise between $500 – $75,000||Up to five years in jail
Fine up to $15,000
|2nd degree||Value of merchandise >$75,000||Up to 10 years in jail
Fine up to $150,000
What can I do about it?
As mentioned above, intent to shoplift must be proven. Furthermore, a storekeeper needs probable cause in order to detain you, but they have no right to forcibly search you. A knowledgeable defense attorney knows how to use this information to your advantage. If you’ve been accused of shoplifting, you need such an attorney on your case. Who should you call?