South Brunswick Shoplifting Lawyer
Defending Clients Charged with Shoplifting in South Brunswick Municipal Court and Middlesex County Superior Court
Shoplifting is a crime in New Jersey, including in South Brunswick in Middlesex County. In fact, places like Heritage Square, ShopRite, Home Depot, Target, liquors stores, pharmacies, and local shops in the Township, are all popular sites for shoplifting offenses and related arrests. While the crime of shoplifting is charged in violation of the same statute in every case, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11, there is significant variability among degrees and penalties for shoplifting charges. At the lowest level, shoplifting is a disorderly persons offense and at the highest level, it is an indictable (felony) crime allowing for a state prison sentence upon conviction. If you are facing charges for shoplifting, we suggest knowing all of the facts about what you are facing and what you can do to prevent a conviction. You can find out more about what it means to be charged with shoplifting in South Brunswick and throughout New Jersey below. To discuss your specific case, contact our local South Brunswick shoplifting attorneys at (732) 659-9600 for a free consultation.
Shoplifting Violations of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11 in South Brunswick NJ
All shoplifting cases begin with an individual or group of individuals who have been accused of taking or attempting to take items from a store without paying the full value to the retailer. Shoplifting is a crime under N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11 if done as part of a shoplifting enterprise or ring, or on your own. Shoplifting offenders are frequently caught in South Brunswick and yet, these allegations are not always founded. Sometimes, a store employee assumes that you planned to take items from the store when, in fact, the entire incident was simply a mistake or misunderstanding. Regardless of the situation, you may find yourself charged with shoplifting if it is believed that you intentionally:
1) Possessed or took items or caused them to be taken from the store without paying the full retail value (i.e. handing a TV to someone out of the emergency exit); or
2) Concealed items to effectively leave the store without paying (i.e. hiding jewelry in a child’s stroller and exiting); or
3) Removed or altered any label or price tag so that you or another could pay less than the advertised value (ie. Peeling off the barcode for a $5 object and putting it on an item worth $100);
4) Transferred the item(s) from the original container into another container to conceal the fact that you were going to leave the store without paying (i.e. hiding clothing in a shoe box so you only pay for the shoes); or
5) Under-rang the item so that the retailer would not receive full payment (i.e. the clerk discounts your purchase by entering a lesser amount at the register); or
6) Took or removed a shopping cart from the store without returning it, depriving the owner of the cart.
What Degree is Shoplifting in South Brunswick?
Shoplifting is either a disorderly persons offense (dp) or a felony crime, depending on the estimated monetary value of the merchandise in question. If you have been given a criminal complaint for shoplifting and the charge has “second”, “third,” or “fourth” degree listed after the description of the crime, it means that you are charged with an indictable offense. If charged with such an offense, your case will be heard in Middlesex County Superior Court. Your conduct constitutes a fourth degree crime if it is proven that the items taken were between $200-$500. If the amount is above $500, but less than $75,000, the crime is of the third degree, while an offense or combination of offenses amounting to over $75,00 is a second degree crime (this may occur when the state aggregates several shoplifting offenses to arrive at one highest number, in order to charge you with a more serious crime). The potential sentences for each level of shoplifting offense in South Brunswick are:
- Second degree shoplifting: 5-10 years in prison (presumption of incarceration), a $150,000 fine, mandatory fees, the cost of DNA testing, and crime on your record;
- Third degree shoplifting: 3-5 years in prison (no presumption of state prison if first offense), $15,000 fine, mandatory fines and penalties, cost of DNA testing, conviction on your record, up to 5 years probation;
- Fourth degree shoplifting: up to 18 months in state prison, $10,000 in fines, mandatory fees, penalties and cost of DNA testing, up to 5 years probation, and a criminal record
If the items shoplifted had a total value of less than $200, it means that your case will be heard in South Brunswick Municipal Court. This is a disorderly persons offense. Here, county jail can be ordered for up to 6 months, in addition to fines up to $1,000, and mandatory financial penalties (including restitution to the store). A term of probation can be ordered as well.
Despite the variability among shoplifting offenses, being convicted means that you will be ordered to complete community service hours. The number of hours will depend on whether this is your first offense (10 days of service) versus your third or more (25 days of service). Just as community service increases based on the number of your prior convictions, so too do the number of days in jail that you must serve. For example, upon conviction for a third shoplifting offense, a mandatory term of 90 days in jail must be ordered.
Consult Shoplifting Attorneys in South Brunswick, New Jersey
If you or a loved one has been arrested for shoplifting in South Brunswick and is scheduled to be prosecuted in South Brunswick Municipal Court or Middlesex County Superior Court, our lawyers have the knowledge and experience you want on your side. Call us today at (732) 659-9600 to discuss your options. Consultations are free and a member of our team is available immediately to assist you.