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Fines and Penalties for Shoplifting in NJ

June 21, 2021

The penalty for shoplifting in New Jersey is based on the value of the stolen item. If the stolen item is worth less than $200 it would be considered a disorderly persons offense. For this charge, the maximum fine an individual may face is $1,000, in addition to up to six months in jail. An item worth $200-500 is known as a fourth-degree charge. The fourth-degree charge means a $10,000 maximum fine and 18 months maximum jail sentence. A stolen item worth $500-75,000 will be a third degree charge with a maximum fine of $15,00 and maximum jail time of 5 years. For items worth more than $75,000, individuals may be facing the harshest of penalties: $150,000 in monetary fines and 10 years in jail.  


A prosecutor must build a strong case for shoplifting in New Jersey by using hard evidence. Some of that evidence may include video footage of the suspect approaching, selecting and concealing and carrying away the item. There may also be witnesses, including a merchant or a security guard,  who have observed the suspect. 


In order for a shoplifting charge, a prosecutor must prove intent. If someone accidentally walks out of a store with an item unknowingly, it would not be considered shoplifting. The five modes of shoplifting are purposely taking merchandise, concealment of merchandise, altering or transferring a price tag, transferring merchandise to another container, under-ringing of merchandise and transferring merchandise to another container. All of these modes include some sort of intent. If the evidence points to and intention of shoplifting than there will most likely be charges brought 

Civil Demand Letters

If the shoplifting incident happened at a large department store it is pretty likely that they will send a civil demand letter. The store is entitled the cost of the stolen item, any damage that occurred and a civil penalty. The letter is legal and will demand money from accused shoplifters. However, it is unwise to respond to any legal letter without first talking to an attorney. 

Fines and Penalty for Minors Caught Shoplifting 

The fines and penalties for shoplifting in NJ is different for an underage suspect. Firstly, cases of juvenile shoplifting are held in New Jersey’s family court system. Secondly, a minor charged with shoplifting may face time in a juvenile detention facility. A disorderly persons offence can mean up to 6 months in a detention facility. A fourth degree crime can lead to a year in prison. A third degree crime may lead to up to two years in a detention facility. Finally, a second degree crime equals up to 3 years in detention.

Legal Help 

The key takeaway to all of this information is that if you are accused of shoplifting in New Jersey, it is most important to have a skilled, knowledgeable, criminal defense attorney who may get your charge downgraded. 

Contact an Experienced Moorestown Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Shoplifting Charges in Moorestown NJ

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 Law Offices of Michele Finizio have successfully represented clients charged with shoplifting in Moorestown, Cherry Hill, Evesham Township, Burlington, 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.

Disorderly conduct consists of any improper behavior such as fighting, threats of violence, or creating a dangerous atmosphere.

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