Voorhees NJ Shoplifting Lawyer
Criminal Defense Attorney in Camden County, New Jersey
In New Jersey, the crime of shoplifting encompasses far more than one might think. It is, in fact, it is a collection of six distinct offenses, ranging from altering price tags to removing shopping carts from a premises. The overarching theme among all shoplifting offenses is the intent to remove property from a commercial establishment without paying the retail value for it. Although the nature of shoplifting offenses remains consistent, the severity of these charges is varied, determined primarily by the estimated monetary value of the stolen property involved. Depending on the specific case, a defendant may face a sentence to serve 6 months in the county jail, or up to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison. Additionally, shoplifting is classified as a “crime of moral turpitude” in New Jersey, which means that it may have immigration consequences for those who have not obtained permanent U.S. citizenship.
If you have been charged with shoplifting in Camden County, seeking knowledgeable legal counsel is best advised if you want to position yourself for success in criminal court. Whether you need assistance with mounting an aggressive defense in Municipal or Superior Court for theft charges, our Camden County law office is here to provide the help you need. Local criminal defense attorney William Fay serves as a dedicated defender for those charged with shoplifting, criminal mischief, theft by deception, eluding police, unlawful weapons possession, and other criminal offenses in Southern New Jersey, and he has been doing this for years. With prior service investigating and prosecuting criminal cases on behalf of the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, he utilizes his knowledge and skill to deliver superior results to clients in Bellmawr, Camden, Cherry Hill, Voorhees, Mt. Ephraim, Oaklyn, Pine Hill, Stratford and throughout Camden County. When you have been charged with a crime, the penalties can be immediate and long-lasting for you personally, professionally, and financially. Mr. Fay is dedicated to protecting your rights and your innocence. To discuss your shoplifting case with Mr. Fay free of charge, contact his offices today at 609-832-3202 for a cost-free, confidential consultation.
Shoplifting Charges for N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11
New Jersey law addresses the crime of shoplifting in N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11. This statute describes the six distinct acts that may be considered shoplifting.
- The first is rather simple: it involves taking possession of, carrying away, transferring or causing to be carried away or transferred, any merchandise. This is what we would typically consider a “shoplifting” crime.
- The second is to purposely conceal an item or merchandise. This brings up another essential component of shoplifting offenses, which is intent. Intent means that you committed an act with the purpose of depriving the retailer of the full value of the goods. In this instance, you are presumed to be concealing the item or merchandise with the intent of removing it from the establishment without paying retail price.
- The third is to purposely alter, transfer or remove any label, price tag or marking. The intent behind this act is to pay less for an item or not pay at all, depending on the specific circumstances.
- The fourth is to transfer an item or merchandise to another container. A subsequent action may be to carry the item away, transfer it, or cause it to be carried away, which connects with the first act considered shoplifting. This also presumes intent.
- The fifth is to under-ring an item or merchandise, which is an act that a person may commit on behalf of his or herself or someone else. For instance, if you work for a store and under-ring an item for a friend or family member, you may legally be charged with shoplifting.
- The last act of shoplifting in New Jersey is to remove a shopping cart from the premises. This offense involves depriving the merchandiser of its property, even though said property may not be for sale in the store itself.
Sentencing for Shoplifting in New Jersey
As previously mentioned, shoplifting charges can range from disorderly persons offenses, which are low-level criminal offenses handled in Municipal Court, to second degree felony crimes, which are adjudicated in Superior Court and may result in a lengthy prison term upon conviction. The following are the thresholds for shoplifting offenses and the potential consequences of each:
- Merchandise Valued at $200 or less: Disorderly Persons Offense: up to 6 months in the county jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and a charge on the defendant’s criminal record, restitution payments to the store owner
- Merchandise Valued between $200 and $500: Fourth Degree Crime: up to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison, fine of up to $10,000, a felony charge on your criminal record, restitution payments to the store owner
- Merchandise valued between $500 and $75,000: Third Degree Crime: between 3 and 5 years in New Jersey State Prison, a fine of up to $15,000, a felony charge on the defendant’s criminal record, restitution payments to the store owner
- Merchandise Valued at $75,000 or more: Second Degree Crime: between 5 and 10 years in New Jersey State Prison, a fine of up to $150,000, a felony charge on the defendant’s criminal record, restitution payments to the store owner
NOTE: If you have been accused of committing more than one shoplifting offense, the State may elect to aggregate the amounts involved in these separate offenses in order to issue one more serious charge against you.
Community Service Requirements for those Convicted of Shoplifting in New Jersey
Shoplifting offenses carry mandatory community service for those convicted. These requirements are issued in addition to any other penalties imposed. The amount of time required for community service depends on the number of prior shoplifting offenses that the defendant has been convicted of. A first offense carries a minimum of 10 days of community service. A second offense requires 15 days at minimum. And third or subsequent shoplifting convictions entail up to 25 days of community service time.
Additional Considerations for Shoplifting Charges in NJ
Although the crime is presumably non-violent in nature, shoplifting for a third or more times requires a jail sentence. Specifically, the court must sentence the person to a minimum of 90 days in jail for a third or subsequent shoplifting offense.
In addition to mandatory jail time for repetitive shoplifting offenders, this is considered a crime of moral turpitude. Being convicted of a theft offense like this means you may have immigration consequences for your citizenship application, the status of your Visa or green card, and you may even be deported. This can be shocking and exceedingly harmful to non-citizens convicted of shoplifting crimes.
Contact a Gloucester Township NJ Shoplifting Lawyer for a Free Consultation
With so much on the line, it is critical to build an aggressive defense strategy if you or someone you love has been charged with shoplifting or another theft crime in Camden County or elsewhere in Southern New Jersey. The criminal defense lawyers at our Camden County law office are prepared to develop and execute your best defense for a disorderly persons offense or fourth degree, third degree, or second degree shoplifting charges. Contact our firm at 609-832-3202 for additional information and a cost-free consultation.