Experienced Theft Defense Lawyer Can Help You Fight Shoplifting Charges in Freehold, Point Pleasant, Brick, & Across New Jersey
Shoplifting is an extremely common criminal offense in New Jersey. As a result, NJ prosecutors have begun cracking down on shoplifting by seeking maximum punishments for convictions. A shoplifting conviction can result in prison time, heavy fines, loss of employment, and a permanent criminal record.
At Lombardi and Lombardi, P.A. we have decades of experience working with local courts regarding shoplifting cases in Middlesex, Ocean, and Monmouth counties. This includes attorneys Joseph Lombardi and Paul Garelick, who are former prosecutors in Edison Township and South Plainfield, respectively. Their experience as prosecutors allows our theft defense team to anticipate the tactics that the prosecutor in your case will use. Don’t go it alone. Lombardi & Lombardi will be by your side.
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Severe Penalties for a Shoplifting Conviction in Brick Township, New Jersey
Shoplifting costs businesses billions of dollars every year. As set forth by the applicable criminal statute (N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11), several different actions constitute NJ shoplifting violations, including:
- Removing an item from the store without paying for it
- Concealing an item with the intent to steal it
- Modifying or transferring a price tag with the intent to steal the item
- Switching items in their packages so as to pay less for an item
- Under-ringing of merchandise by a store employee
- Taking a shopping cart from a store parking lot with the intent to steal it
The penalties for a shoplifting conviction vary, depending on the value of the stolen items:
- Second degree offense: $75,000.01 or greater; punishable by 10 years in New Jersey State Prison and a $150,000 fine
- Third degree offense: $500.01 to $75,000; punishable by five years in NJ State Prison and a $15,000 fine
- Fourth degree offense: $200.01 to $500; punishable by 18 months in state prison and a $10,000 fine
- Disorderly persons offense: $0.01 to $200; punishable by three months in county jail and a $1,000 fine
Prosecutors can also aggregate the amounts of the items in shoplifting cases. If you shoplifted items from different stores during a “continuing course of conduct,” the prosecutor may be allowed to add together the total value of all the items, resulting in a more serious charge.
The need for an experienced shoplifting attorney may be greater if you are a habitual offender who has accumulated prior shoplifting convictions. This is because the law imposes additional penalties based on the number of prior offenses. If you are facing a third offense shoplifting charge, you could be sentenced to a minimum of three months in jail and at least 25 days of community service.
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Contact an Experienced NJ Theft Defense Lawyer for a Free Consultation about Your Shoplifting Case
An experienced shoplifting attorney can get your charges downgraded and possibly even dismissed. N.J.S.A. 2C:2-11 allows the prosecutor to dismiss a shoplifting charge if it constitutes a de minimis offense. This means that the crime is harmless and doesn’t warrant severe punishment. Additionally, depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be eligible for a diversionary program such as Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI). Admission into PTI will allow you to stay out of prison and avoid a permanent criminal record.
If you are facing shoplifting charges, you need to take steps to ensure that your rights are protected. Let us conduct a thorough investigation of the facts of your case to determine the most effective strategy to beat your shoplifting charges. Turn to the experienced NJ shoplifting defense team at Lombardi and Lombardi. To schedule a free consultation, call us or contact us online.