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Can a Store Owner Legally Detain You for Shoplifting in New Jersey?

A store owner can legally detain a person if they believe that person is shoplifting. The store owner may legally detain a person until a police officer, parent, or guardian arrives.

What is Shoplifting in New Jersey?

Shoplifting is a crime that involves stealing items from a shop. Shoplifting crimes in New Jersey may be categorized as a second or third-degree offense, or as a disorderly persons offense, depending on the value of items stolen. Most cases of shoplifting occur in a store but may also take place in a parking lot or any other space in which goods are sold.

Proving Shoplifting in New Jersey

New Jersey law requires shop owners to prove certain elements in a shoplifting case. The shop owner or prosecutor must prove that:

  • The stolen merchandise was purposefully hidden, carried away, or taken from the shop
  • The incident must occur in a retail or mercantile business
  • The defendant must have intentionally stolen the goods

Typically, when a person conceals a good and tries to purposefully leave the store with it, they can be charged with shoplifting. It’s also important to note that not all shoplifting charges involve stealing goods. Shoplifting in New Jersey may also include transferring price tags or under ringing goods with the intention of paying less than full price.

Potential Consequences of Shoplifting Charges

In New Jersey, the consequence of a shoplifting charge depends on a few factors, including the value of the goods stolen and if the person has any prior criminal charges, especially shoplifting.

Second Degree Shoplifting Charges

Second-degree shoplifting charges include retail valued at more than $75,000. This charge can lead to a maximum of $150,000 in fines and prison time between 5-10 years.

Third Degree Shoplifting Charges

Third-degree shoplifting charges include retail valued between $500 and $75,000. This charge can lead to a maximum of $15,000 in fines and prison time between 3-5 years.

Fourth Degree Shoplifting Charges

Fourth-degree shoplifting charges include retail valued between $200 and $500. This charge can lead to a maximum of $10,000 in fines and prison time up to 18 months.

Disorderly Persons

A disorderly persons charge includes retail valued at $200 or less. This charge can lead to a maximum of six months in prison.

The charges may be reduced for juvenile offenders, but this also depends on the details of the shoplifting crime.

If you’re being charged with shoplifting charges, it’s important that you choose a good criminal defense lawyer to represent you. Your criminal defense lawyer can help you build a defense against your criminal charges, which could mean the difference between jail time and community service.

First-time offenders may have a plea deal option available, which reduces their charges in return for counseling or community service. Your lawyer may also evaluate the evidence to ensure your case includes all required elements to justify the criminal charges. Because every shoplifting case is different, it’s important to discuss yours with a New Jersey criminal lawyer.

Contact an Experienced Hamilton Township Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Shoplifting Charges in New Jersey

Were you arrested or charged with shoplifting in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The attorneys at the Davis Law Firm have successfully represented clients charged with shoplifting in Hamilton, Trenton, Windsor, Chesterfield Township, and throughout New Jersey. Call (609) 498-7722 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 2653 Nottingham Way, Hamilton Township, NJ 08619.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

Disorderly conduct consists of any improper behavior such as fighting, threats of violence, or creating a dangerous atmosphere.

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