I sometimes look around at other lawyer’s websites for answers to questions that I would have if I was charged with shoplifting and didn’t know anything about the process. For example, it appears that it is rarely explained that if you are arrested or charged with shoplifting in the Menlo Park Mall, then your case will most likely be heard at the Edison Municipal Court.
Here is another one, “is my case in the Edison Municipal Court or the Middlesex County Superior Court?” It depends on the amount (dollar) of merchandise the police allege you took. Anything over $200 is supposed to be an indictable offense (felony, i.e more serious) and under the jurisdiction of the superior court. However, even if your case starts at the county level, it frequently happens that it will be downgraded if the amount involved is not too crazy. I have seen shoplifting cases downgraded where the amounts where in the thousands. They county prosecutor’s office may do this on its own or with some coaxing from your lawyer.
Another good question is “what’s going to happen to me?” aside from metaphysical considerations this question presents, there is a simpler concern that most people have when they are asking this question. The answer is it depends. It depends on the proofs, it depends on the store, it depends on the day, it just depends.
I have had great success defending my clients facing shoplifting charges in Edison. I’d like to say it depends on me, but that’s not always true. Sometimes, any number of factors could contribute to the outcome of your case. It’s the lawyer’s job to put them all together and extricate you from a sticky situation.
Shoplifting is “one of those things” that you don’t want on your record. Employers will have serious concerns hiring someone who has been labeled a thief. Believe it or not, if you are not a citizen, a conviction can result in your deportation.
There are a ton of other attendant problems that come with a shoplifting convictions aside from a criminal record. High fines, probation, community service, and even jail if you have multiple convictions.
Don’t get so caught up looking on the internet for 30 hours for the answers you want to see. If you have been arrested for shoplifting in Menlo Park, make a few phone calls to some qualified lawyers to talk about your case (there are some besides me unfortunately).