About 2 million shoplifters are caught every year on average in the United States, which makes it one of the most frequently committed crimes. You might think, then, that shoplifting isn’t a serious offense, but the penalties of a conviction include prison time, community service, and a steep fine. A conviction will also go on your permanent record.
This is why it is so important to explore your defense options with a criminal attorney. If you would like to discuss your case with a shoplifting lawyer in Elizabeth, contact my office today. I will answer your questions and explain exactly how I will help you secure the most favorable outcome for your case. Call 973-453-2009 to schedule a consultation at the Law Office of Eric M. Mark.
Penalties for Shoplifting in New Jersey
The penalties of a shoplifting conviction in New Jersey depend on the value of the item you allegedly stole. Below is a breakdown of a few different degrees of shoplifting and their corresponding penalties:
- Misdemeanor Shoplifting (Disorderly Persons Shoplifting): This crime involves stolen items with a value of less than $200. Penalties of a conviction include a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in prison.
- Fourth Degree Shoplifting: If the item you stole was valued from $200 to $500, you could be charged with fourth degree shoplifting. The penalties of a conviction include a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 18 months in prison.
- Third Degree Shoplifting: If the stolen items were valued at $501 to $74,999, you will face charges for third degree shoplifting. If convicted, you could face a fine of up to $15,000 and three to five years in prison.
- Second Degree Shoplifting: If you stole an item valued at $75,000 or more, you will face second degree shoplifting charges. The maximum fine for a conviction is $150,000, and you could go to prison for five to 10 years.
If it is your first offense, you will face mandatory community service for 10 days. The community service requirement increases to 15 days for a second offense and to 25 days for a third offense. There is also a mandatory 90-day jail term for a third offense.
What Acts Are Considered “Shoplifting” in New Jersey?
There are many acts that are considered shoplifting in New Jersey. Beyond concealing an item with the intention not to pay for it, you may also face shoplifting charges if:
- You altered the price of a product;
- You switched an item to a different container to avoid paying the full price; or
- You’re a store employee and you charged someone less for the item.
If you are facing shoplifting charges and you would like to discuss potential defense strategies with a criminal attorney in Elizabeth, contact my office today. Call 973-453-2009 to schedule a free consultation. You can learn more about criminal proceedings in New Jersey by visiting the USAttorneys website.