NJ Shoplifting Charges and Theft Arrest

New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney: Shoplifting and Theft Offenses

A conviction for a theft offense could have far reaching effects on a person’s life. Theft offenses are considered crimes of moral turpitude. Once an individual is labeled as a thief, it is difficult to rehabilitate one’s reputation. If you have been arrested and charged with a shoplifting or theft offense, an experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyer should be consulted.

A conviction for theft could result in the loss of employment, deportation, difficulty in obtaining employment, a criminal record, and possible jail.  New Jersey criminal defense attorney Todd Palumbo understands that a charge of this nature carries with it life changing consequences. A person arrested for a theft offense may be in the midst of their lowest moment. Todd Palumbo understands and will take every step to protect his clients. Remember, there are no small theft offenses. In New Jersey, just about any form of thievery can be charged as a criminal offense. Don’t take a shoplifting or theft charge lightly. Contact Lawyer Todd Palumbo today for a free consultation.

New Jersey Shoplifting and Theft Offenses: Things to Know

The following sections outline some concepts common to all theft offenses and deal directly with shoplifting charges.  To discuss the facts of your particular case with an NJ criminal and theft defense lawyer call The Law Office of Todd D. Palumbo

Grading of theft offenses

In New Jersey, the seriousness of the charges you face will depend on the amounts involved. New Jersey theft offenses are graded according to the monetary value of the property alleged to have been taken. Theft, including shoplifting is second degree crime if the amount of goods is $75,000 or more. If the pecuniary loss exceeds $500, but is less than $75,000, theft is a third degree crime. Theft is a fourth degree offense if the pecuniary loss is between $200 and $500. Otherwise it is a disorderly persons offense.

Be aware that the amount is determined by aggregating. This means that value of all the goods is added together to determine the degree of the offense. For example, if the police believe that an individual was part of a shoplifting “team” each person involved will be charged according to the total amount of the goods taken by all.

New Jersey Shoplifting Charges and Arrest

As stated above, shoplifting charges range from a disorderly persons offense up to a second degree crime. Likewise, it really does not matter how innocent the episode may have been. If an individual is caught stealing, they will most likely be charge with a criminal offense. Years back, situations such as these may have been settled directly between the parties, avoiding the involvement of the courts. However, that is no longer the case.

There are various forms of shoplifting enumerated in N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11. To summarize, one commits the act of shoplifting in New Jersey if they take and carry away or conceal merchandise with intent to deprive the owner of the merchandise without paying for it. This includes under-ringing merchandise and switching price tags.

Nonetheless, the law requires that the accused acted purposely. One cannot be convicted of this offense if they did not have the intent to deprive. In my experience, there have been many instances when a client was charged with a shoplifting offense, but was found not guilty because the state could not prove this element of the offense.

In the majority of shoplifting cases, the alleged crime is witnessed by someone other than a law enforcement officer. In order for the state to prove their case, the prosecutor must rely upon the testimony of these individuals. If there is a video tape of the incident, the prosecutor will need the witness to authenticate the recording. This means that the witness must be IN COURT. Simple enough, one would think. But in my experience, the state frequently has difficulty securing the presence of the one and only witness. A good New Jersey shoplifting lawyer will hold the state to its proofs, make the proper motions to dismiss your charges if the state cannot produce its witness.

Sentencing Issues for New Jersey Shoplifting Charges

Some important sentencing considerations:

1)      If convicted, every shoplifting offense will include the imposition of community service. For a first offense, at least 10 days; for a second offense at least 15 days; for a third a maximum of 25 days

2)      If convicted, every shoplifting offense may include jail. A disorderly persons offense carries up to 6 months, a fourth degree crime up to 18 months, a third degree crime up to 5 years, and a second degree crime up to 10 years. More importantly, if you have been convicted on two previous occasions for shoplifting, and are convicted of a third offense, THE JUDGE WILL SENTENCE YOU TO A MANDATORY TERM OF IMPRISONMENT OF NOT LESS THAN 90 DAYS.

Do not put your career, your immigration status, your reputation on the line without the assistance of experienced New Jersey criminal defense counsel. The effects of a shoplifting conviction are far reaching and long lasting. Contact the Law Office of Todd D. Palumbo today to discuss your case.

New Jersey criminal defense lawyer serving Essex, Hudson, Bergen, Morris, Union, Somerset, Hunterdon Counties, including Short Hills, Menlo Park, Woodbridge, Newark, Elizabeth, Jersey City, Fort Lee, Union, Watchung, Paramus, Millburn, Maplewood, Cranford, Westfield, Flemington

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