Shoplifting is one of the most common crimes that people are arrested for in NJ. Although most do not view it as a serious offense, they ought to. After all, according to it is a misdemeanor to be caught stealing an item worth less than $200 and a felony to be caught stealing an item worth over $200.
According to N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11, if you are convicted of shoplifting, not only could you face a fine, jail time, a criminal record, and loss of employment, but it could also affect your immigration status. Make sure to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you avoid a shoplifting conviction and all of the fallout that comes along with one.
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What Constitutes Shoplifting in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, there are five main kinds of shoplifting [N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11]:
- Purposely Taking Merchandise [N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11(b)(1)]: If a person purposely takes merchandise from a store with the intent to deprive the owner of its benefit (i.e. the value of the item) without paying for it, then he will be guilty of shoplifting.
- Concealment [N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11(b)(2)]: If a person purposely conceals merchandise that is being sold by a merchant, then he will be guilty of shoplifting.
- In order to “conceal,” you must obscure the object in such a way that makes it not visible through ordinary observation. However, in order to count as shoplifting, the concealing must be done with the intent to carry out a theft.
- Usually, intent will be presumed whenever a person conceals merchandise that has not been paid for.
- Altering or Transferring a Price Tag [N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11(b)(3)]: If a person alters, transfers, or removes a label or price tag on a piece of merchandise, then he too can be guilty of shoplifting.
- However, in order to be found guilty, it must be proven that you had the intent to deprive the merchant of the true monetary value of the merchandise.
- Transferring Merchandise to Another Container [N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11(b)(4)]: If a person purposely transfers merchandise into a container with intent to commit a theft of that merchandise, then he will be guilty of shoplifting.
- Under-Ringing of Merchandise [N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11(b)(5)]: If a person causes the sale to reflect less than the full retail value of the merchandise (i.e. under-rings), then he will be guilty of shoplifting.
- Remember, the burden lies with the state to prove that the under-ringing was purposely done.
- Also, the preparation of fraudulent refund receipts is not encompassed within the offense of under-ringing sales receipts.
- The offense is directed to merchandise leaving a store, not merchandise being returned to a store.
What is the Penalty for Shoplifting in New Jersey?
As with most theft crimes, the penalty is relative to the value of the property that was stolen.
- Disorderly Persons Offense: If you steal property that is worth less than $200, you can be imprisoned for 6 months and fined up to $1,000.
- Fourth Degree Offense: If you steal property that is worth $200-$500, you can be imprisoned for 18 months and fined up to $10,000.
- Third Degree Offense: If you steal property that is worth more than $500 but less than $75,000, you can be imprisoned for 3-5 years and fined up to $15,000.
- Second Degree Offense:If you steal property that is valued worth more than $75,000, you can be imprisoned for 5-10 years and fined up to $150,000.
Who Should You Contact?
If you or a loved one was charged with shoplifting, contact The Rosenblum Law Firm today. E-mail or call us today at 888-815-3649.
More Information About Shoplifting in New Jersey