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When individuals are faced with charges of shoplifting, they can face serious consequences. Shoplifting is a crime. It is not taken lightly. Depending on the specific situation, it could lead to a variety of changes that could alter your life. For shoplifting charges, the penalties mostly depend on the value of the item that was stolen.

If the item stolen is valued under $200, the case may only be tried in a municipal court. This may not have as severe consequences as cases with higher stolen values. These may be tried as a disorderly charge. For these charges, individuals may face a fine up to $1,000 and possible jail time of six months. Merchandise that is alleged to be $200 or more calls for the case to be tried in the county court in the criminal division.

Fourth degree offense

Merchandise that was valued over $200 but under $500 may result in a fourth degree offense. The individual may face a fine up to $10,000 and possible jail time of 18 months.

Third degree offense

If merchandise is valued over $500 and under $75,000, this can be considered a third degree offense. With this charge, individuals may face a fine up to $15,000 that may include jail time of three to five years.

Second degree offense

When the allegedly stolen merchandise is valued over $75,000, it can be considered a second degree offense. Due to the rise in value, the fines and jail time may increase as well. Fines could be up to $150,000 with possible jail time between five and 10 years.

In addition to the fines for the specific offense, individuals may face community service hours as well. They could also be entitled to pay restitution to the store and a civil penalty of $150. If you neglect to pay the civil penalty, you could face further action from the store. The store can choose to sue you civilly and collect a judgment that will include their costs and attorney fees.

How can they prove I shoplifted?

In order to charge you as guilty of shoplifting, the state has to prove three circumstances. They must prove that you purposefully carried away or concealed any merchandise that was for sale or put on display by a retailer or someone who sells goods. Also, the state has to determine that the party from which the goods were stolen was a store or a retail establishment. For the last guideline, the state has to prove that you concealed or carried away the property with the intent to deprive the store or retail establishment of the goods. If these three circumstances can be proven, you may be found guilty of shoplifting and charged.

Due to the varying consequences involved with shoplifting charges, contacting a lawyer would be in your best interest. Our attorneys can help protect you during this process. We want to make sure you are not given severe consequences that could be life-altering. Contact us for a consultation to improve your situation.

If you are in need of experienced legal counsel for matters of personal injury, medical malpractice, medical device injuries, unsafe drug injuries, consumer protection, bankruptcy, SSD, or criminal law in New Jersey, please contact Tomes & Hanratty, P.C. and we will be happy to assist you.