If you were caught shoplifting in the state of New Jersey, there is a chance that you are facing criminal charges anywhere between thousands of dollars in fines or years in jail. It is important to know what degree of penalties you are up against. Regardless of the extremity of the offense, a skilled Morristown criminal defense lawyer at Graves Andrews, LLC can assist you in building a strong legal defense that can lessen or dismiss your charges altogether.

What constitutes a shoplifting offense in New Jersey?

Shoplifting is a form of theft that is commonly associated with the act of concealing stolen items in pockets, bags, or clothing while exiting a retail establishment. Other ways shoplifting can be acted out is if you do not scan every item at a self-checkout register or you coordinate with a cashier to “forget” to scan items. Also, manufacturing, distributing, or using devices, such as aluminum-lined bags, that prevent anti-theft technology in the establishment from functioning properly can lead to facing a shoplifting charge.

What are the potential penalties for shoplifting in New Jersey?

The higher the value of property stolen, the higher the penalty for shoplifting is. The smallest offense in the state of New Jersey is considered to be stolen property that is worth less than $200. This is treated as a disorderly conduct offense and the possible charges are fines of up to $1,000 or up to 6 months in jail. Notably, this is the only matter that is handled in municipal court, and any other stolen property of higher value is handled in criminal court.

Property valued between $200 and $500 is considered a fourth-degree crime, and the charges can be fines of up to $10,000 or up to 18 months in jail. If the stolen property was between $500 and $75,000, this is a third-degree crime and fines are up to $15,000 while jail time can be anywhere between 3 to 5 years. As for property valued at over $75,000, this is a second-degree crime that can be charged with fines of up to $150,000 and jail time of anywhere between 5 to 10 years.

Charges become more drastic if you are accused of participating in an organized retail theft enterprise or if you have been convicted of two or more shoplifting offenses in the past. A criminal record comes with long-term burdens, such as having difficulty getting certain jobs, renting certain properties, or securing certain loans. To fight such criminal charges, contact our firm as soon as possible.

Contact Our Experienced New Jersey Firm

Graves Andrews, LLC is an experienced Morris County family law & criminal defense law firm serving all of New Jersey. Contact Graves Andrews, LLC to schedule an initial consultation to learn more about our services and how we can assist you. Reach out to our experienced attorneys today to get started.