Theft Defense Attorneys in Ocean County, New Jersey
If you or your loved one has been arrested for shoplifting in New Jersey then you are currently facing serious penalties that include community service, mandatory probation, hefty fines, and possible incarceration. Shoplifting charges result from a variety of different actions and behaviors, and are often accompanied by other crimes such as Theft by Deception, Credit Card Fraud, Theft of Movable Property, Receiving Stolen Property and even Forgery charges. The use of stolen credit cards to buy merchandise, the alteration or switching of price tags, and the obvious theft from commercial retailers all classify as examples of shoplifting. If you have been charged with shoplifting in New Jersey, an experienced criminal defense lawyer will challenge the state’s case against you and work with the prosecution in an effort to secure a downgrade or even attain a dismissal altogether. At The Law Offices of Proetta & Oliver, our team of experienced criminal defense attorneys is dedicated to defending clients for criminal and municipal court charges that include shoplifting and related fraud and theft charges in courts across the state. We frequently represent clients throughout Ocean County, New Jersey who have been charged with the offense of shoplifting in Lakewood, Brick, Manahawkin, Waretown, Plumsted Township, Barnegat, Long Beach Township, and Point Pleasant Borough. To speak with an experienced Ocean County shoplifting defense attorney, feel free to contact our Toms River office at (848) 238-2100 for a free consultation.
Shoplifting in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11(b)
The New Jersey statute for shoplifting is listed below, in pertinent part, for your reading convenience
§ 2C:20-11. Shoplifting
b. Shoplifting shall consist of any one or more of the following acts:
(1) For any person purposely to take possession of, carry away, transfer or cause to be carried away or transferred, any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale by any store or other retail mercantile establishment with the intention of depriving the merchant of the possession, use or benefit of such merchandise or converting the same to the use of such person without paying to the merchant the full retail value thereof.
(2) For any person purposely to conceal upon his person or otherwise any merchandise offered for sale by any store or other retail mercantile establishment with the intention of depriving the merchant of the processes, use or benefit of such merchandise or converting the same to the use of such person without paying to the merchant the value thereof.
(3) For any person purposely to alter, transfer or remove any label, price tag or marking indicia of value or any other markings which aid in determining value affixed to any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale by any store or other retail mercantile establishment and to attempt to purchase such merchandise personally or in consort with another at less than the full retail value with the intention of depriving the merchant of all or some part of the value thereof.
Shoplifting Charges Degrees and Penalties in NJ
Second Degree Shoplifting
Over $75,000 worth of merchandise
5 – 10 years in state prison; incarceration presumed
Third Degree Shoplifting
$500 – $75,000 worth of merchandise
3 – 5 years in state prison
Fourth Degree Shoplifting
$200 – $500 worth of merchandise
Up to 18 months in state prison
Disorderly Persons Offense Shoplifting
Under $200 of worth merchandise
Up to 6 months in county jail
As the above statute explains, a person will be charged with shoplifting if he or she steals merchandise from a retail store or conceals the merchandise while still within the store with the intent to steal. Moreover, many people are unaware that a shoplifting charge can escalate quickly into a charge of Robbery in the second degree. This occurs when force is used during the process of the shoplifting theft. For example, a defendant exits a store with stolen merchandise, and upon being confronted by a security guard, a struggle ensues. This is because the felony crime of robbery amounts to theft + force.
Crime Involving Moral Turpitude “C.I.M.T.” If you are not a U.S. Citizen, you face additional immigration consequences because shoplifting is a C.M.I.T. These penalties include mandatory deportation or not being able to re-enter the country if you leave. This can apply to legal immigrants, green card holders, workers and family on visa, and illegal residents.
Consult a Manchester NJ Shoplifting Defense Lawyer about Your Case
Shoplifting charges are often quite complicated and have many issues that must be resolved. These include intent, co-defendant issues, and the actual value of the merchandise that was stolen. William Proetta Esq., our firm’s founding attorney, has handled well over one thousand criminal and municipal charges including numerous shoplifting cases for clients across New Jersey. We will review and analyze the evidence of your case and work with the prosecution on your behalf in order to negotiate a downgraded plea or admittance into a diversion program such as Pre-Trial Intervention. We represent clients for shoplifting throughout Ocean County and New Jersey including Manchester, Seaside Park, Eagleswood Township, Ocean Gate, Island Heights, Harvey Cedars, and Beach Haven. If you or a family member has been charged with the crime of shoplifting in Ocean County, then please contact our office for a free consultation at (848) 238-2100.
Our phones are answered 24 hours a day. We are available weekdays during business hours. We also meet with clients on evenings and weekends by request. All major credit cards are accepted.