What Are the Penalties of Shoplifting in New Jersey

Each state has different penalties regarding shoplifting. However, shoplifters in New Jersey face the penalty of community service, fines, and jail time. The offender must also pay back the shop owner for any losses due to the shoplifting.

What do the Courts Consider Shoplifting?

The state of New Jersey defines shoplifting as any action performed with the intention of not paying. It also includes the intention of paying less than the full amount for an item. Other activities that New Jersey considers shoplifting involve taking an object outside of a store without paying for it, hiding an item on your body or in something you have with you, and transferring, altering, or removing price tags.

Does the Value of The Item Affect the Penalty?

In most cases, the value of the stolen item plays a major role in the penalties assessed. As such, the value of an item stolen in New Jersey is taken into consideration when deciding on the penalty. Officials base the penalties given on the retail value of the stolen item.

New Jersey courts classify lifted items valued at over $75,000 as second-degree offenses. Second-degree offenses result in a fine of up to $150,000, with five to ten years in prison. Courts also classify lifting items less than $75,000 but greater than $500 as a third-degree offense. A third-degree offense holds a penalty of up to $15,000 and three to five years in prison.

The courts in New Jersey consider shoplifting items valued at less than $500 but greater than $200 a fourth-degree offense. In this case, you would receive a penalty of $10,000 and up to 18 months in prison. However, a first-time offender that shoplifts an item valued at less than $200 typically receives a penalty of 180 days in jail because authorities consider it a disorderly persons offense.

How Store Owners Get Their Money Back

Shop owners are entitled to receive compensation for all their troubles and losses. As such, the offender is required to compensate the shop owners. This occurs through a “civil” penalty charged to them.

Is It Felony or Misdemeanor?

The degree of a shoplifting charge varies in the state of New Jersey. They may range from a disorderly person’s offense to a second-degree felony. The degree of the charge will mainly depend on the retail value of the shoplifted item. Additionally, most minor shoplifting charges only carry a fine of up to $1,000 because they are disorderly persons offenses.

Concealing Merchandise

Concealing merchandise is also considered shoplifting. If you conceal the item on your person or inside something that you have with you and try to leave the premise, you’re engaging in shoplifting. Anytime you have the intention of not paying for or not paying the full value of the item, the state of New Jersey considers this shoplifting.

Altering Labels

Actions that involve the removal, alteration, or transfer of pricing labels is considered shoplifting. However, the degree of the charge received by the offender will depend on the value of the item.

Removing Merchandise from The Property

Not surprisingly, the motive behind leaving a store with unpaid items says a lot about the criminal intent. As such, shoplifting is also the removal of an item or the intention to remove an item from a shop without paying for it. Likewise, if you take the item without paying its proper value, this is also classified as shoplifting.

There is a wide range of penalties in New Jersey for the crime of shoplifting. If you or someone you know has been charged with this type of misdemeanor, you should contact Leon Matchin by emailing him at to learn about how an attorney can help.

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