Morristown NJ Shoplifting Lawyer

Theft Defense Attorney with Offices in Morristown, New Jersey

Morris County NJ Shoplifting Lawyer

Shoplifting is a serious crime in New Jersey. Anyone facing a shoplifting charge in New Jersey needs to speak with a lawyer immediately. This crime is classified as a crime of “moral turpitude,” which means that there could be serious repercussions if you are not a United States citizen. Shoplifting can occur when someone removes a price tag from a cheaper piece of merchandise and places it on another piece of merchandise, when a cashier under-rings a piece of merchandise for a friend, when a person tampers with the anti-theft tag on a piece of merchandise, or even when someone removes a shopping cart from the property of the retailer.

If you or someone you know has been charged with shoplifting in Denville, Dover, Parsippany, Mount Olive, or Morristown, contact the Tormey Law Firm anytime at 866-949-6948, or use the online contact form to arrange a free consultation.

Penalties for Shoplifting in New Jersey 

The penalties for shoplifting in New Jersey are determined by the full retail value of the merchandise. The greater the value of the merchandise allegedly shoplifted, the higher the degree of the offense and the more likely it is that the alleged shoplifter will face jail time.

For a disorderly person offense, the value of merchandise is under $200, the penalty if found guilty is up to 180 days in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000, plus restitution and community service. The case will generally be heard in municipal court with a bench trial in front of a judge, not a jury trial.

The shoplifting charges that reach the degree level will be considered indictable offenses and will be heard in superior court with a judge or jury trial. For a fourth degree shoplifting charge, the value of merchandise is between $200 and $500. The sentence if found guilty is up to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison and a fine of up to $10,000, plus restitution and community service.

For a third degree crime, where the value of merchandise is more than $500 but less than $75,000, the penalty if found guilty is three (3) to five (5) years in NJ State Prison, as well as a fine of up to $15,000 and restitution and community service.

For a second degree crime, where the value of merchandise is more than $1,000 if committed by two or more people or $75,000 if committed by one person, the penalty is five (5) to 10 years in state prison, as well as a fine of up to $150,000, plus restitution and community service.

Defenses Available for NJ Shoplifting Charges

Under New Jersey Law, voluntary intoxication would be an available defense to shoplifting. State v. Stasio, 78 N.J. 467, 396 A.2d 1129 (1979).

Additionally, if the items taken during the alleged shoplifting are considered “de minimis” in value, the charges may be dismissed. For instance in State v. Smith, the defendant was charged with shoplifting three pieces of bubble gum. Upon motion of the defendant’s attorney, the charges were dropped pursuant to jurisprudence allowing dismissal of prosecution if defendant’s conduct was “de minimis.”

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

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.

Gradation of Shoplifting Charges

c. Gradation. (1) Shoplifting constitutes a crime of the second degree under subsection b. of this section if the full retail value of the merchandise is $75,000 or more, or the offense is committed in furtherance of or in conjunction with an organized retail theft enterprise and the full retail value of the merchandise is $1,000 or more.

(2) Shoplifting constitutes a crime of the third degree under subsection b. of this section if the full retail value of the merchandise exceeds $500 but is less than $75,000, or the offense is committed in furtherance of or in conjunction with an organized retail theft enterprise and the full retail value of the merchandise is less than $1,000.

(3) Shoplifting constitutes a crime of the fourth degree under subsection b. of this section if the full retail value of the merchandise is at least $200 but does not exceed $500.

(4) Shoplifting is a disorderly persons offense under subsection b. of this section if the full retail value of the merchandise is less than $200.

The value of the merchandise involved in a violation of this section may be aggregated in determining the grade of the offense where the acts or conduct constituting a violation were committed pursuant to one scheme or course of conduct, whether from the same person or several persons, or were committed in furtherance of or in conjunction with an organized retail theft enterprise.

Additionally, notwithstanding the term of imprisonment provided in N.J.S.2C:43-6 or 2C:43-8, any person convicted of a shoplifting offense shall be sentenced to perform community service as follows: for a first offense, at least ten days of community service; for a second offense, at least 15 days of community service; and for a third or subsequent offense, a maximum of 25 days of community service and any person convicted of a third or subsequent shoplifting offense shall serve a minimum term of imprisonment of not less than 90 days.

Presumptions for Shoplifting Charges

d. Presumptions. Any person purposely concealing unpurchased merchandise of any store or other retail mercantile establishment, either on the premises or outside the premises of such store or other retail mercantile establishment, shall be prima facie presumed to have so concealed such merchandise with the intention of depriving the merchant of the possession, use or benefit of such merchandise without paying the full retail value thereof, and the finding of such merchandise concealed upon the person or among the belongings of such person shall be prima facie evidence of purposeful concealment; and if such person conceals, or causes to be concealed, such merchandise upon the person or among the belongings of another, the finding of the same shall also be prima facie evidence of willful concealment on the part of the person so concealing such merchandise.

e. A law enforcement officer, or a special officer, or a merchant, who has probable cause for believing that a person has willfully concealed unpurchased merchandise and that he can recover the merchandise by taking the person into custody, may, for the purpose of attempting to effect recovery thereof, take the person into custody and detain him in a reasonable manner for not more than a reasonable time, and the taking into custody by a law enforcement officer or special officer or merchant shall not render such person criminally or civilly liable in any manner or to any extent whatsoever.

Any law enforcement officer may arrest without warrant any person he has probable cause for believing has committed the offense of shoplifting as defined in this section.

A merchant who causes the arrest of a person for shoplifting, as provided for in this section, shall not be criminally or civilly liable in any manner or to any extent whatsoever where the merchant has probable cause for believing that the person arrested committed the offense of shoplifting.

f. Any person who possesses or uses any anti-shoplifting or inventory control device countermeasure within any store or other retail mercantile establishment is guilty of a disorderly persons offense.

Contact a Rockaway NJ Shoplifting Lawyer for a Free Consultation 

There are many ways to craft the best defense possible for a shoplifting charge, but the first step in fighting the case should be to speak with an experienced shoplifting lawyer. The Tormey Law Firm’s experienced team of defense attorneys has the skills and knowledge to help you today. Give us a call anytime at 866-949-6948, or use our online contact form. A member of our criminal defense team will be happy to answer any questions you have and provide you with an honest assessment of your case. This consultation about your case will be free, so call today.

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With unmatched knowledge and experience in the practice of law, the seasoned attorneys at The Tormey Law Firm are committed to serving their clients and tenaciously confronting the allegations against them.

We will examine every facet of your case in order to defend your constitutional rights and reputation.

With a dedicated legal advocate to assist you, our attorneys will ensure that you are never forced to navigate the complex legal process on your own.

The Tormey Law Firm

Morristown Location

55 Madison Avenue, Suite 400, Morristown, NJ 07960

(908) 336-5008 Directions

Areas we serve

All of Morris County including Boonton, Boonton Township, Butler, Chatham Borough, Chatham Township, Chester Borough, Chester Township, Denville Township, Dover, East Hanover Township, Florham Park, Hanover Township, Harding Township, Jefferson Township, Kinnelon, Lincoln Park, Long Hill Township, Madison, Mendham Borough, Mendham Township, Mine Hill Township, Mont Arlington, Montville, Morris Plains, Morris Township, Morristown, Mount Olive Township, Mountain Lakes, Netcong, Parsippany-Troy Hills Township, Pequannock Township, Randolph, Riverdale, Rockaway Borough, Rockaway Township, Roxbury Township, Victory Gardens, Washington Township, and Wharton.

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