How to Fight a Shoplifting Charge in New Jersey

A woman wearing a jean jacket, a beige top, and a red skirt puts an apple into her pocket at the supermarket.

If you’ve been arrested on shoplifting charges in New Jersey, chances are you’re in a situation that is both scary and stressful. Being charged with shoplifting can lead to financial penalties and the possibility of jail time. Yet, there are things you can do to fight a shoplifting charge in New Jersey. With the help of experienced counsel, you can significantly reduce your chances of severe penalties.

Here are some key facts about being charged with shoplifting in New Jersey:

Is Shoplifting in New Jersey a Misdemeanor or Felony?

When you are charged with shoplifting in New Jersey, the extent of the charges will depend on the financial value of the items you allegedly took from the store. If the product was valued at less than $200.00, then the crime would be classified as a disorderly persons offense. This charge may result in fines of up to $1000.00, community service, a 6-month sentence in the county jail, probation, and a criminal record. If the items allegedly stolen exceed $200.00, you may be facing more serious charges, including a Second Degree felony. 

More specifically, if a product is valued at $200.00 to $500.00, this is considered a Fourth Degree shoplifting offense and carries a potential punishment of 18 months in prison and a $10,000.00 fine. If the value of the products ranged from $500.00 to $75,000.00, this is considered Third Degree shoplifting, and those accused could be facing up to 5 years in prison and a $15,000.00 fine. Finally, if the value of the item you allegedly stole exceeded $75,000.00, this is considered Second Degree shoplifting and carries a 10-year prison sentence, as well as a $150,000.00 fine.

What Can You Do to Fight a Shoplifting Charge in New Jersey?

One of the first things you should do if you’ve been charged with shoplifting in New Jersey is find a competent and experienced attorney to represent you. Your chances of having the charges reduced or dropped increase when represented by a lawyer.

Your attorney will have several options when it comes to fighting a shoplifting charge. Depending on the circumstances, your counsel may file a motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that the offense was so minor that it doesn’t warrant charges or a trial. In legal terms, this would be called a de minimis offense. 

Another avenue a lawyer may take when representing someone accused of shoplifting is having the charges reduced. First-time offenders or those with very particular circumstances may be able to get their crimes downgraded. This would remove the possibility of jail time, reduce the cost of fines, and not have a criminal record. It’s important to remember that each situation involving shoplifting in New Jersey is unique, and having charges reduced may not be realistic in certain cases.

Shugar Law Office: Experienced Attorneys Serving New Jersey Residents

Shugar Law Office is a premier provider of legal representation to residents throughout New Jersey. We provide a wide range of services, including acting as DWI lawyers and criminal defense attorneys for our clients. If you need expert legal advice, reach out today. We’ll be happy to hear your story and help guide you through the legal process.

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