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What is Considered Shoplifting
New Jersey has six acts that can define shoplifting. The following acts may be considering shoplifting under the law:
- Taking merchandise without paying full price. This is also known as “traditional” shoplifting.
- Hiding merchandise with the intent to steal. Also known as illicit concealment, this charge does not require actually removing the merchandise from the store.
- Altering or removing labels or price tags with the intent of depriving the owner of the full value. Leaving the store with the merchandise is not required to be charged.
- Transferring merchandise to another container with the intent of stealing. An example is putting expensive shoes into another shoe box with a lower price.
- Under-ringing merchandise. This act usually involves store employees who under-ring or undervalue merchandise at the checkout. It may also involve customers at a self-serve lane.
- Removing a shopping cart with the intent of taking it.
Under the law, merchandise is considered any property such as food or goods, regardless of the value. Full retail value, under the law, refers to the price for which the goods are sold. New Jersey grades shoplifting based on the retail value of the item, and the penalties for shoplifting increase based on the value of the item. Shoplifting merchandise valued at less than $200 carries a penalty of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000, while shoplifting merchandise of up to $500 carries a penalty of up to 18 months in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
New Jersey law allows retailers and store owners to detain a suspected shoplifter and take him or her into custody, granting criminal and civil immunity to a merchant who does so, even if the merchant is wrong.
Defense Against Shoplifting Charges
If you have been charged with taking or destroying someone’s property, it is very important to begin your defense as soon as possible. The victim’s statement will play a major role in the prosecutor’s position, so it is very important to avoid making mistakes that could damage your case. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible and before answering any questions from police.
Depending on the offense and your circumstances, our law office may recommend that you plead not guilty and then work to obtain a plea bargain with the prosecutor or have your case dismissed. All types of shoplifting require intent or purpose, which may be difficult to prove.
Protect Your Rights
If you have been charged with a theft crime in New Jersey, contact our law firm as soon as possible at (609) 665-3338 to arrange a free consultation. Mark A. Bernstein is a criminal defense attorney with more than 17 years of experience. Our law firm will help you build your defense and protect your rights while fighting for shoplifting dismissal or reduced charges.
Fight For Reduced Shoplifting Charges Today!