Mount Holly NJ Shoplifting Lawyer
Criminal Defense Attorney in Burlington 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 can vary significantly, 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.
Criminal defense attorney Leonard Biddison has been successfully defending clients charged with shoplifting and other criminal offenses in Southern New Jersey and Pennsylvania for over twenty years. In fact, he was recently named one of the Top 10 Criminal Law Attorneys in New Jersey by the American Jurist Institute. He utilizes his knowledge and skill to deliver superior results to clients in Mt. Holly, Mt. Laurel, Willingboro, Pemberton, Moorestown, and throughout Burlington County. When you have been charged with a crime, the penalties can be immediate and long-lasting for you personally, professionally, and financially. Mr. Biddison is dedicated to protecting your rights and your innocence. To discuss your case with Mr. Biddison free of charge, contact his offices today at 856-427-6888 for a cost-free, confidential consultation.
Shoplifting Lawyer in Mount Laurel NJ
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 felonies, 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.
Contact a Willingboro 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 Burlington County or elsewhere in Southern New Jersey. Contact the Law Offices of Leonard Biddison at 856-427-6888 for additional information and a cost-free consultation.