New Jersey shoplifting charges

The world has been challenging since the pandemic hit. People everywhere are struggling to stay afloat and take care of their families. You shoplifted, and now you have no idea what’s going to happen. 

First, a knowledgeable attorney who will be on your side is essential. Leon Matchin is a New Jersey Lawyer who will fight for you every step of the way. 

Here’s what you need to know if you’re facing shoplifting charges.

There are “levels” of shoplifting depending on the value of the item. These can range from a disorderly persons charge to a second-degree crime. Here is the gradation per N.J.S.2C:20-11:

  • A person will face a disorderly persons offense if the theft is under $200. 
  • If the total retail value is over $200 but less than $500, this is considered a crime in the fourth degree.
  • If the total retail value is $500 to $75,000 or merchandise is under $1,000, and you are part of an organized retail theft enterprise, the offense is considered a crime of the third degree.
  • Shoplifting is a second-degree offense if the value is over $75,000, or you’re affiliated with an organized retail theft ring and the value of the merchandise is over $1,000.

Jail Time or Prison Time?

The above stipulations cover what a shoplifting offense is, but what about jail time?

  • With disorderly persons offenses, you are subject to up to 6 months in jail, community service, and restitution to the merchant.
  • You face up to 18 months in state prison and restitution to the merchant for a fourth-degree offense.
  • Also, you may face up to 5 years in state prison and restitution to the merchant for a third-degree offense.
  • You are subject to 10 years in state prison for a fourth-degree offense and possible restitution.

Fines and Community Service for Shoplifting Charges

On top of a sentence and having to serve jail or prison time, your sentence may also carry a fine. These fines can range from $1,000 up. Penalties consist of:

  • Disorderly person offenses – a fine up to a maximum of $1,000
  • Fourth-degree violations – a fine up to a maximum of $10,000
  • Third-degree violations – a penalty up to a maximum of $15,000
  • Second-degree violations – a penalty up to a maximum of $150,000

There’s one more thing to look at for a conviction of a shoplifting offense: community service. The court gave a sentence of disorderly persons; the first time, your requirement would be to perform community service for a minimum of 10 days, the second offense would carry 15 days of community service, and third and subsequent offenses would carry up to 25 days. Also, with the third offense, you would need to complete a mandatory 90-day jail sentence. 

What is Shoplifting?

Now that we’ve covered what happens when you shoplift, let’s define precisely what shoplifting is under New Jersey State Law N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11.

Taking Merchandise

It is unlawful to purposefully take possession of, carry away, or transfer merchandise; held, stored, or offered for sale by a merchant with the intent to compel the merchant to surrender the possession, use, or benefit of the product or to convert the product to the use of the person committing the offense. 

Hiding Merchandise

A person who conceals on himself or otherwise merchandise offered for sale by any retailer denies the merchant the benefits, use, or benefits of such products or converts such inventory purely for personal use without paying the retailer its value. 

Altering Any Labels

The person intentionally tampering with, transferring or removing any label, price tag, or marking which may be attached to any goods displayed, held, stored or offered for sale by any retail mercantile establishment has the intention of stealing part or all of the value of such goods from the merchant.

Transfer of Items to Another Container

It is unlawful to intentionally transfer merchandise from a container in or on which it is displayed at a store or other retail product establishment to another container to rob the merchant of all or part of the retail value. Shoplifting of this type occurs when a person removes an item from one container and places it in another that displays a lower price.

Merchandise Under-Ringing 

Intentionally under-ringing a good or service to deprive the merchant of the total retail value. This form of shoplifting applies to store employees. 

Removal of a Shopping Cart

A person who deliberately removes a shopping cart from the premises of a store or other retail merchant without their consent intends to deprive them permanently of their possession, use, or benefit.

Anti-Shoplifting Device

Anyone who has an anti-shoplifting device while in a store can be charged with a disorderly person’s offense, whether you were planning to use it or not.

Contact Leon Matchin If You’re Facing New Jersey Shoplifting Charges

With everything a shoplifting charge consists of, it is wise to make sure you have a knowledgeable New Jersey shoplifting attorney on your side for a solid defense. Instead of going to court unprepared, contact Leon Matchin for a free consultation to start working on your case. There’s no time to waste when your freedom is on the line. Areas served include:

  • New Brunswick
  • South Brunswick
  • North Brunswick
  • East Brunswick
  • Woodbridge
  • Sayreville Old Bridge
  • Edison

Email Leon Matchin at [email protected] or give him a call at 732-887-2479.