Shoplifting, defined as “the willful theft of merchandise from a retail establishment without the knowledge or consent of the seller with the intention of converting those goods for one’s personal use and without having paid the purchase price”, is classified as a type of larceny and is often looked upon in the same regard.
Nevertheless, for it to be a crime, there has to be intent and intent can sometimes be nebulous. For example, eating packaged food while grocery shopping could merit a shoplifting charge, even if you intend to pay for it afterward. This example, along with various situations, can cause a tremendous amount of trouble if not handled appropriately.
This is why it is important to seek out an experienced New Jersey shoplifting attorney, should shoplifting charges arise, to ensure your rights are completely upheld.
What Constitutes Shoplifting in New Jersey?
Many cases of shoplifting are clear cut. If you conceal merchandise and leave the store, you have shoplifted. Changing price tags to pay less for a piece of merchandise also is considered shoplifting, as is putting a more-expensive pair of shoes in the box of a cheaper pair.
There are also instances, as mentioned before, in which intent is misconceived. Forgetfulness, the wandering hands of young children, confusion, or downright misconception can all contribute to a shoplifting charge with serious consequences.
Penalties For Shoplifting in New Jersey
For merchandise priced $200 or lower, first-time offenders could potentially face up to 6 months in prison, fines up to $1000, mandatory community service, and restitution.
If the theft involves items priced from $500 to $75,000, a first time offender could face anywhere from 3-5 years of imprisonment, up to $15,000 in fines, and a charge of Grand Theft on their permanent record.
As a New Jersey citizen, you have the right to fair judgement. If you were recently charged with shoplifting, obtain a reputable New Jersey shoplifting attorney as soon as you can following the incident. This will ensure you do not give away your rights or incriminate yourself before you’ve had proper time to calm yourself and assess the situation. This applies for both people with intent to shoplift and those without.
The compassionate and dedicated shoplifting attorneys at Thomas & Krail hold a very successful track record in shoplifting cases of all forms and are experts in the various stages of shoplifting defense.
In this confusing and foreboding time, a Thomas & Krail lawyer will help make sense of the situation, provide you with options, and supply you with invaluable legal guidance that can further your defense and protect you from the prosecution.
If you are currently facing shoplifting charges in New Jersey, NJ, contact the experienced shoplifting attorneys at Thomas & Krail today. They are ready to listen to your story and fight tenaciously for your rights.