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Shoplifting Attorney in Woodbridge, New Jersey

In New Jersey, shoplifting – taking possession of any merchandise offered for sale by a store to permanently deprive the store owner of such an item – is a serious crime that is a severe punishment. Depending on the retail value of the item and other surrounding circumstances, a defendant convicted of shoplifting could be facing devastating penalties, including lengthy imprisonment, hefty fines, a criminal record, and other life-altering consequences.

If you have been arrested and charged with shoplifting, you must retain a knowledgeable New Jersey criminal defense attorney to help build your defense strategy. At Adams, Cassese & Papp L.L.C., I'm dedicated to offering comprehensive legal counsel and aggressive representation to clients facing shoplifting charges.

Adams, Cassese & Papp L.L.C. proudly represent clients across Woodbridge, New Jersey, and surrounding areas of Edison, Sayreville, and Perth Amboy.

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Shoplifting Charges Under New Jersey Law

Shoplifting is the illegal act of taking goods from a store without the intent to pay for them. According to New Jersey Revised Statutes Section 2C:20-11, shoplifting constitutes any of the following acts:

  • Purposely transferring, carrying away, or taking possession of any merchandise displayed or offered for sale by any store with an intent to deprive the store owner of the use or benefit of such merchandise.

  • Purposely concealing any merchandise displayed or offered for sale by any store with an intent to deprive the store owner of the use, processes, or benefit of such merchandise.

  • Purposely transferring any merchandise held, displayed, or offered for sale by any store from its container to another container with an intent to deprive the store owner of all or some part of the retail value of such item.

  • Purposely transferring, altering, or removing any label or price tag of any merchandise offered for sale by any store in an attempt to purchase such merchandise for less than the actual retail value.

  • Purposely removing a shopping cart from a store's premises without the store owner's consent with an intent to permanently deprive the store owner of the use or benefit of such cart.

  • Purposely under-ring the value of merchandise displayed or offered for sale by any store with an intent to deprive the merchant of the full retail value of such merchandise.

Examples of Shoplifting

Some common examples of shoplifting or retail theft in New Jersey include:

  • Altering a price tag

  • Price manipulations

  • Switching price tags with those of lower-priced items

  • Writing a different price

  • Hiding an item in your backpack while in the store.

  • Removing a merchandise's theft prevention device or security tag

  • Removing merchandise from its packaging and using other items to conceal it.

If you or someone you know has been recently arrested or indicted for shoplifting, you need to reach out to a skilled New Jersey criminal defense attorney right away. Your lawyer can investigate every last detail of your case thoroughly and enlighten you about the nature of your charges.

Classification of Charges

In New Jersey, shoplifting offenses are classified according to the retail value of the merchandise that was shoplifted. These include:

Disorderly Persons: This is the lowest level of shoplifting in New Jersey. It involves shoplifting merchandise for less than $200.

Fourth Degree Shoplifting: This involves shoplifting merchandise worth between $200 and $500.

Third Degree Shoplifting: This involves shoplifting merchandise with a retail value of between $500 and $75,000.

Second Degree Shoplifting: This involves shoplifting merchandise with a retail value worth $75,000 or more.

A skilled shoplifting defense lawyer can enlighten you about the potential penalties and consequences of a shoplifting charge and help strategize your best defenses.

Possible Penalties for Shoplifting Charges

In New Jersey, retail theft crimes often carry far-reaching consequences. Depending on the retail value of the merchandise shoplifted, a shoplifting conviction could potentially result in any of the following penalties and consequences:

  • Prison sentences (ranging from months, years, or decades)

  • Hefty fines

  • A criminal record

  • Community service

  • Probation

  • Restitution to the victim of shoplifting (store owners)

  • Loss of rights to vote during elections

  • Increased difficulty in traveling to other countries

  • Increased difficulty in getting public benefits

  • Increased difficulty in getting employment and accommodation

  • Ineligibility for certain financial loans

A knowledgeable attorney can identify possible defenses to your shoplifting allegations and craft an effective defense strategy to help fight your charges.

Common Defenses

When accused of shoplifting, your defense counsel can help fight your charges using any of the following defenses:

  • No intent to shoplift the merchandise

  • Falsely accused of shoplifting

  • Acted with the store owner's consent

  • Accidentally took the merchandise out of the store

  • Intoxication

  • Mistaken identity

  • Truth or ambiguity of the statement

  • Entrapment

  • Not enough evidence for a conviction.

Every shoplifting case is unique. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can fight vigorously to uphold your legal rights and determine the best defenses to prevent the devastating consequences of a criminal conviction.

How Legal Counsel Can Help

Accusations of shoplifting could potentially jeopardize your personal reputation, quality of life, freedom, professional, and future opportunities. Regardless, navigating the criminal justice system or defending your shoplifting charges without experienced guidance or representation could expose you to the risks of getting convicted and suffering maximum punishments. Therefore, when facing shoplifting charges, hiring a highly-skilled and aggressive criminal defense attorney is paramount for detailed guidance and to build your defense.

At Adams, Cassese & Papp L.L.C., I have devoted my career to handling criminal cases and defending individuals wrongfully accused of theft or shoplifting. As your legal counsel, I can evaluate and investigate all of the facts of your case thoroughly and strategize an effective defense to help fight your charges. Using my in-depth knowledge of New Jersey laws, I can help you navigate the state's criminal justice system and ensure that you receive fair treatment in every phase of the legal proceeding

Shoplifting Attorney Serving Woodbridge, New Jersey

If you are facing shoplifting charges, don't face them alone. Contact my firm – Adams, Cassese & Papp L.L.C. – to schedule a simple case evaluation. I can offer you the vigorous representation and experienced legal counsel you need in your criminal case. My firm is proud to represent clients across Woodbridge, Edison, Sayreville, and Perth Amboy, New Jersey.