Facing Shoplifting Charges in New Jersey

By Order of The Administrative Office of the Courts, Municipal Courts are no longer allowed to “plea bargain” away shoplifting offenses.  This means that if you are charged with shoplifting less than $500.00 worth of merchandise, you may be facing heavy penalties, even jail time if it is your second offense or more.  Contact us today for the help you need defending your shoplifting charge in New Jersey.

New Jersey Shoplifting Law: N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11

In New Jersey, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11 governs shoplifting charges and provides in pertinent part:

b. Shoplifting. 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.

(4) For any person purposely to transfer any merchandise displayed, held, stored or offered for sale by any store or other retail merchandise establishment from the container in or on which the same shall be displayed to any other container with intent to deprive the merchant of all or some part of the retail value thereof.

(5) For any person purposely to under-ring with the intention of depriving the merchant of the full retail value thereof.

(6) For any person purposely to remove a shopping cart from the premises of a store or other retail mercantile establishment without the consent of the merchant given at the time of such removal with the intention of permanently depriving the merchant of the possession, use or benefit of such cart.

Penalties for Shoplifting in New Jersey

In general, the degree of shoplifting offense depends on the amount of merchandise which was allegedly stolen. If the full retail value of the merchandise is $75,000 or more, this is considered a second degree shoplifting offense. Also, if the offense is committed in conjunction with or in furtherance of a full retail theft enterprise and the merchandise is valued at $1,000 or more, this will also be a second degree crime. Next, shoplifting will be graded as a third degree offense if the full retail value of the stolen merchandise is over $500 but less than $75,000. If the merchandise is valued between $200 and $500, this is considered a fourth degree crime in New Jersey. Finally, if the merchandise is valued at less than $200, this is a disorderly persons offense and is handled in Municipal Court.

We Handle All Types of Criminal Charges

Criminal charges can be brought in either the Municipal or Superior court. The more severe the criminal charges the more likely they are to be handled in Superior Court, while minor charges are typically resolved in Municipal Court. We have a well deserved reputation for being the best in both arenas.

The severity of your charges is a determination made by the State and is usually based on a variety of factors. Penalties will vary based on the degree of the crime and whether or not there was a criminal conspiracy involved.

Call 732-842-7773 to speak with one of the Moriartys 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to discuss your charges or you can contact us by e-mail to schedule a free initial consultation.