The crime of theft occurs when a person deprives the owner of property of the owner’s rights in the property. Theft, or larceny, is similar to the crime of robbery, although robbery involves the use of force. New Jersey uses the term theft to mean criminal offenses involving the unauthorized taking of property or property rights, and includes crimes such as extortion, theft by deception, or shoplifting/retail theft.
If you have been arrested for retail theft in New Jersey, you may be wondering about the length of jail sentence and other punishments you may be facing if you are convicted of retail theft. It is important to understand the consequences of a conviction in your case in order to put together an effective legal strategy to face your charges.
Retail Theft in New Jersey
In New Jersey, the crime of shoplifting, or retail theft, involves the theft or larceny of merchandise from a store or other place of business, without the store or business owner’s permission and with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the merchandise stolen.
Grading of Retail Theft Offenses
In New Jersey, retail theft is graded according to the value of the property stolen. Retail theft charge gradings can range from a petty disorderly persons offense to a second-degree indictable offense. New Jersey statute grade retail theft charges as follows:
- Petty disorderly persons offense or disorderly persons offense: Value of stolen property is less than $200
- Fourth-degree indictable offense: Value of stolen property is at least $200 but does not exceed $500
- Third-degree indictable offense: Value of stolen property is at least $500 but does not exceed $75,000
- Second-degree indictable offense: Value of stolen property is $75,000 or more
Possible Jail Terms for Retail Theft Convictions in New Jersey
The penalties for a retail theft conviction in New Jersey are as follows:
- Petty disorderly persons offense: Up to 30 days in jail, plus other fines and costs ordered by the court
- Disorderly persons offense: Up to six months in jail, plus other fines and costs ordered by the court
- Fourth-degree indictable offense: Up to 18 months in jail, and/or a fine of up to $10,000 or double the value of the store’s loss, whichever is greater
- Third-degree indictable offense: Prison term of three to five years, and/or a fine of up to $15,0000 or double the value of the store’s loss, whichever is greater
- Second-degree indictable offense: Prison term of five to ten years, and/or a fine of up to $150,000 or double the value of the store’s loss, whichever is greater
Other Consequences of Retail Theft Conviction
In addition to being sentenced to jail time and fines for a conviction, a person convicted for retail theft in New Jersey may also be ordered to pay additional costs, including the costs of prosecution, the legal fees of the store incurred in dealing with your prosecution, and a “fine” or “shoplifting surcharge” (usually about $150), which is paid to the store you stole from regardless of what you took or even if you returned what you stole in perfect condition.
Contact an Experienced Moorestown Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Retail Theft Charges in New Jersey
Were you arrested or charged with retail theft in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The Law Offices of Michele Finizio have successfully represented clients charged with retail theft in Medford, Burlington Township, Gloucester Township, Camden, and throughout New Jersey. Call (609) 230-0374 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 9 E, Main St., Moorestown, NJ 08057, as well as offices located in Cherry Hill.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.