Shoplifting is often defined as the action of, or the intent of, taking an item, without paying for the item. The potential penalties of shoplifting vary from state to state, so it is important to know the charges that you are facing and your potential penalties.
New Jersey’s Laws Regarding Shoplifting
In New Jersey, individuals charged with shoplifting face the following potential penalties:
- Expensive fines
- Repayment of the stolen goods
- Jail time
- Community service
What penalties an individual receives will depend on the value of the stolen goods and whether or not the defendant has a prior record. The New Jersey court will consider the details of the incident when determining the most appropriate legal consequences.
Determining Value of Shoplifted Items
The value of the items shoplifted will dictate the overall severity of the legal charges that you can expect. The state of New Jersey breaks shoplifting values down in the following increments:
- Items with a value of up to $200: Items with a value of less than $200 are considered a disorderly persons crime. The individual could face up to six months in jail and legal fines of up to $1,000
- Items with a value between $200- $499: Items with a value that is over $200, but less than $500 is considered a fourth-degree offense. This carries the potential penalties of up to 18 months in prison and legal fines of up to $10,000
- Items with a value between $500- $74,999: Items with a value of over $500, but less than $75,000 is considered a third-degree offense. This carries the potential penalties of between three- five years of prison and legal fines up to $15,000
- Items with a value of over $75,000: Shoplifting items with a value of over $75,000 is considered a second-degree offense. This carries the potential penalties of between 5-10 years in prison and legal fines of up to $150,000.
In addition to potential jail time and legal fines, the shoplifters are also expected to pay back the value of the items to the store, as well as any incurred court fees. Individuals might also be responsible for covering a shoplifting fee to the store, which is usually about $150.
First-Time Shoplifting in New Jersey
New Jersey tends to be less severe with criminal sentencing with a first-time shoplifting crime. First-time shoplifters can expect a minimum of 10 days of community service, in addition to any other legal charges that the judge finds to be appropriate, depending on the details of the case. However, even as a first-time offender, you could face expensive fines and legal fees.
Important Steps to Take Following Shoplifting Charges
Shoplifting charges can put you in a difficult financial position. Even if you return the stolen items, it’s possible that you will also have to cover the stores’ court fees and a fine for shoplifting. Depending on the details of your case, it might make sense to work with a criminal lawyer. If you are a first-time shoplifter, negotiating a lesser sentence and legal fines might be an option. It is important to reach out to a criminal lawyer as soon as possible to determine your legal options going forward.
Contact an Experienced Pemberton Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Shoplifting Charges in New Jersey
Were you arrested or charged with shoplifting 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 attorneys at the Law Offices of Michele Finizio have successfully represented clients charged with shoplifting in Evesham Township, Mount Laurel, Willingboro, Pemberton, 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 an office 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.