Shoplifting is considered a serious crime in New Jersey. Shoplifters can be held criminally liable, face substantial fines, serve jail sentences and be liable to recover the damages of the establishment they stole from. There are many forms of shoplifting and penalties vary depending on the degree of the charges. We invite you to contact us for help with any questions you may have.
How does the law define shoplifting?
Shoplifting can be committed in the state of New Jersey when a person takes an item or conceals it, removes price tags or alters merchandise, attempts to transfer merchandise to another container. All these acts must have the intention of depriving the merchandiser of the item in question. However, if the person is caught concealing the item, for the purposes of the law; it is assumed that the potential shoplifter meant to deprive the merchandiser of the item in question. In such a situation, the onus is on the accused to provide evidence in their defense.
There are four types of charges for shoplifting, the penalties and fines increase with the value of the merchandise in question.
Charge, Classification and consequent penalties depending on the value of the merchandise shoplifted:
- If the total shoplifted merchandise has a combined value of less than $200, then the offence is classified as a disorderly person’s offence and is punishable with up to six months of jail time or a fine of up to $1000, and in some cases both.
- If the combined value of the merchandise is from $200-$500, the crime is considered an offence of the fourth degree, and is punishable up to 18 months in jail or a fine of up $10,000, and sometimes both.
- If the combined value is $500 – $ 75,000, the crime is considered an offence of the third degree and is punishable by 3-5 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $15000.
- If the total combined value of the shoplifted merchandise is $75000 or more, then the law defines the offense as a crime of the second degree and penalties include 5-10 years imprisonment or a fine of up to $150,000, or both.
- A lawyer may be able to provide a more comprehensive description of the surrounding circumstances, possible civil liability, and potential plea bargains related to the offenses of shoplifting.